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The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


The Student News Site of St. Charles North High School


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Teaching without a home base

North teachers adjust to sudden relocation after mobiles shutdown
Natalie Hannah
North’s mobile classrooms were shut down on Aug. 15 due to positive mold tests.

With the closing of North’s mobile units, multiple teachers now face the challenges of teaching in unfamiliar environments without all of their resources. Some have spent almost their entire time at North in their mobile classrooms and have now lost that space at the school.

On Aug. 15, District 303 announced a positive mold test inside of a classroom in North’s mobile unit. Because of this test, all classes in the mobiles were relocated for the next day. Additional tests found mold in six of the eight classrooms in the mobiles, which the district announced on Aug. 25.

“I was devastated, the mobile is my home,” said Jenna Bruhn, who has taught in the mobile unit for seven years. “Just thinking of all the things I had to leave behind and I had seven years of items and things that I use for my classes that are all just sitting out there that we can’t get to.”

Other teachers echoed Bruhn’s comparison of her long-time classroom in the mobiles to a home.

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“That’s one of the things I miss the most … having a home for me and my students,” said Scott Von Essen, an English teacher who had multiple classes in the mobiles. 

Teachers were given alternative room assignments, often consisting of many rooms for their different classes. For example, Bruhn went from having one room in the mobiles to having three different rooms for her classes as well as a fourth for peer leadership. 

“I’m now a guest and a stranger in other classrooms,” said Bruhn.

Von Essen was also relocated to a variety of spaces including teaching in science labs and courtyard A in the LRC, a space not designed to be a classroom environment.

“[The LRC] is nice because it’s a big open space, but with that comes the challenges of the screen is way up there and the distractions are everywhere,” said VonEssen.

VonEssen converses with a student in a makeshift LRC classroom. (Annabelle Handjojo)

Beyond the challenges of the new spaces, these teachers also need to travel between classrooms during passing periods and are not able to have a set room for their materials.

“A lot of that becomes a consideration of what do I need to take with me now that I’m going to need in three periods from now because I’m not going to have time to come back to my office or what do I have to find because I don’t have it in just one classroom for one class,” said Von Essen.

While items left in the mobiles can be reimbursed by the district, and in some cases retrieved and deep cleaned, teachers still left many possessions with sentimental value in the mobiles. One of the walls in Bruhn’s mobile room was covered in coloring pages and drawings made by students that she had collected over her years teaching in the mobiles.

Personal belongings and resources are inaccessible inside the recently vacated mobiles. (Natalie Hannah)

“That’s very important [to me], that’s seven years of student work that you can’t get back,” said Bruhn.

Many mobile teachers also lost resources that they used to help their students learn.

“Last year we played [the card game] Snake Oil in AP Lang, where we were using that to understand the rhetorical situation and craft arguments for an audience,” said Von Essen. “That’s something that’s there in the room.

Von Essen expressed that he appreciated how seriously the mold was taken after it was found.

“While it’s been really inconvenient to be in five different classrooms and really inconvenient to not have access to resources or materials or just a home base, I do appreciate that I’m also not teaching in a space that could be harmful to my health or the health of my students,” said Von Essen.

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About the Contributors
Tyler Moore
Tyler Moore, Editor In Chief
Tyler Moore is the editor-in-chief for the Stargazer. He is a senior at North, and this is his third year on the staff. Tyler engages in student journalism because it helps him engage in events at North and talk to new people.
Natalie Hannah
Natalie Hannah, Senior Media Editor
Natalie is a graphic designer for the Stargazer. She is a junior, and this is her second year on staff. Natalie engages in student journalism because she enjoys creating art and sharing it with others.

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