Whether you call them trailers, portables, modulars, or educational cottages, North Point’s temporary classrooms are an inescapable part of school life. To some, the trailers are their own world- separate from the building both physically and mentally. Since their inception, students and teachers have learned to adjust and adapt to the benefits and challenges teaching and learning in the trailers brings about.
“The trailers reduce the class sizes, which is a huge help,” remarked Kaylah Bovard (‘11). The twenty five modular classrooms are essential in handling North Point’s surplus of students, allowing class sizes to be kept to a reasonable level. Another positive aspect is “seeing people you know all the time in the hallways,” said Alexus Brown (‘13), who has five out of eight classes in the trailers.
Although Ms. Wyse, a ninth grade English teacher, didn’t choose to teach in the trailers, she says, “After teaching out there for almost an entire school year, I have begun to see the positives and sometimes I think they outweigh the negatives.” She especially enjoys the “‘community’ aspect that has been developed” among teachers in the portables, who are often dealing with the same issues and can relate to one another.
“Walking in the worst weather conditions to the building,” is one of Brown’s least favorite parts of being assigned to the portables. No matter what the weather forecast is, students are still expected to arrive to class, ready to learn, within four minutes.
Getting to class on time, especially when going between the building and outside is one of the main issues that students face in regards to the modulars. “The worst part is having to walk that long way with only (four) minutes…I have to walk from upstairs on the other side of the school and have to make it to the last trailer by the bell,” said Bovard.
Freshmen find that this is one of the harder aspects of adjusting to life at North Point, but most quickly find an effective method of getting to class on time, such as using the outdoor walkway or going to their lockers at different times. Brown doesn’t have a problem with arriving to class before the late bell. “I’m a fast walker and I can manage my time pretty well,” she remarked. Wyse added, “Now that students are used to the routine and building layout, they are able to make it to class on time.”
Congestion poses another obstacle as students navigate the trailers. As the bell rings at 8:10, signaling the end of homeroom, the rush of hundreds of students moving to first block causes a momentary gridlock. Nonetheless, most students remain in good spirits, laughter and hellos between friends echoing down the corridor as the rush to class begins.
Construction on Charles County’s newest high school, which will relieve overcrowding at North Point, has yet to begin, meaning that North Point’s trailers are hardly temporary. Even so, students and staff have made them their own, and will continue to do so in school years to come.