Teaching in a Modular Classroom This Year? Make the Most of a Temporary Environment

September 14, 2020 in Modular Classrooms
an illustration of a portable classroom with a teacher pointing at a map while students watch

As schools around the United States are pressed for space and operating on a limited budget, many are turning toward portable classrooms as a solution to their space problems.

If you’re teaching in a modular classroom or portable classroom this year, then you may feel overwhelmed or off-balance, especially if it’s your first time doing so. But don’t worry—with just a few adjustments, you can make your portable classroom into a space that works for your students as well as yourself.

What Are Portable Classrooms?

an illustration of a construction worker helping guide the setup of portable classrooms

Portable classrooms are modular buildings constructed in a factory-controlled environment and then shipped to a school, where they can be quickly assembled on-site. For schools, they are both a flexible and affordable solution to expanding space needs. Every Satellite Shelters portable classroom includes the following features:

  • Electric HVAC system
  • Vertical sliding windows
  • Vinyl tile or carpeted floors
  • Diffused fluorescent lights
  • Wood-paneled exterior siding
  • 220-volt power

Standard portable classrooms from Satellite Shelters can also include ADA restrooms, if required. Many portable classrooms are installed away from the main building, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on necessary amenities. Even still, certain custom projects can consist entirely of custom modular classrooms, complete with corridors and covered walkways.

Take Advantage of Portable Classroom Benefits

Portable classrooms are different from traditional classrooms in many ways. Though there are some drawbacks to portable classrooms—just as there are to traditional classrooms—portable classrooms present plenty of unique opportunities if you’re ready to take advantage of them.

an illustration of a teacher standing outside the portable classroom with a book

Peace and Quiet (or Not)

In a traditional classroom, you’re immediately adjacent to other classrooms. And because sound reverberates indoors, this limits what you can do from a collaboration and activity standpoint. Every teacher knows that kids are good at being loud, and while it’s not necessarily a bad thing, keeping them quiet is nevertheless important.

Many portable classrooms, on the other hand, are set away from the building and from one another. This means that your portable classroom is on a sound island that you won’t get in a traditional room, and it also means you’re free to have a little more commotion at times without interfering with others.

The Great Outdoors

One unique trait of portable classrooms is their proximity to the outdoors. The door opens to the outside as opposed to the hallway, and there are undeniable benefits being connected to nature, particularly when it’s nice outside.

Want to open the door to feel the breeze and get more air circulation flowing than you could with the windows? Go for it! And depending on the size of your class, the age of your class, the location of your classroom, and what you’re teaching, you can even hold impromptu outdoor lectures or lessons.

Overcoming Portable Classroom Challenges

Making the most of your portable classroom experience isn’t just ensuring that you take advantage of its inherent benefits—it’s also mitigating the necessary disadvantages of portable classrooms. Here are some things to consider and work through to have a great school year.

an illustration of two students walking up to a portable classroom holding umbrellas while it's raining

Bathrooms

If you have a portable classroom with bathrooms, great! You can skip this section. Satellite Shelters provides portable classrooms that have ADA restrooms included, which can be an ideal solution for some schools.

However, if your portable classrooms lack bathrooms or access to utility hookups, this can present a unique problem to solve. Depending on the type of class and the age of kids you teach, your solution for this may vary; just be sure to think through it. Here are some ideas:

  • Print a map of your area with the nearest bathrooms noted.
  • Create custom bathroom passes with directions.
  • Devise a bathroom pass buddy system.
  • Build “bathroom time” into your daily routine.

Water Cooler/Drinking Fountain/Bubbler

Every teacher knows proper hydration is important for health and learning. No matter what you call them in your city, access to a water fountain is not always possible in a portable classroom. The same roadblocks that prevent convenient bathroom use also prevent convenient access to water.

If your portable classroom doesn’t have convenient access to water, consider adding a water cooler. Using a water cooler is a great idea for easy water access without anyone having to leave the building. Satellite Shelters offers specialty products and services that make adding a water cooler to your project easy and effortless. Along with the water cooler itself, you should also consider adding a service for refills.

Inclement Weather

Rain can be a problem for portable classrooms if you have a long distance to walk in the open before you get to the main school building. Rain gets tracked into the classroom easily, and everything can get wet pretty quickly. Try these tips to minimize the weather-related delays in your portable classroom:

  • Have a classroom umbrella to use for trips to the bathroom if you have to leave the building.
  • Use a large plastic container to easily store wet umbrellas and rain boots.
  • Ensure you have adequate entertainment when no recess is possible—card games and board games are a great distraction and can be inexpensive.

Portable and Modular Classroom Solutions for Your School

Teaching in a portable classroom has its own benefits and opportunities to enhance your classroom space. But ultimately, a portable classroom is just like any other classroom: It’s what you make of it. No classroom (portable or otherwise) is a success because of the room itself. It succeeds because of your passion for teaching—and for that, we at Satellite Shelters thank you!

If you’re looking for a space solution for your school during uncertain times, portable classrooms can work wonders. Satellite Shelters provides a wide range of portable classrooms and modular school buildings that can fit nearly any budget. From custom solutions to standard classrooms, we can provide units for purchase, lease, or rent. Contact your local Satellite Shelters branch to get the conversation started today.

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