Principal sparks debate after giving up his office for a rolling cart

Principal sparks debate after giving up his office for a rolling cart

A principal has completely ditched his office in favour of a rolling cart, so he can interact more with students and teachers.

Jared Lamb is head of BASIS Baton Rouge Mattera Charter School in Louisiana. He is known for posting content for educators on his TikTok account under the username @principal_lamb. In one of his most viral videos, he explained why he made the switch from having an office to a rolling cart.

“How am I supporting teachers and students if I’m sitting behind a desk all day?” he said in a TikTok. “I spend my days rolling the hallways, rolling into classrooms, and providing teacher customer service.”

The video begins with Lamb explaining that he got the idea for a non-traditional office back when he was a teacher. “I worked for an AP [assistant principal] who didn’t have an office. She kept her desk in the hallway,” he said. “I loved her visibility and when I became an administrator, I followed her lead and put my desk out in the middle of the hallway.”

He continued: “Fast forward to last summer. I don’t have my cart yet, but I’m losing papers and I can’t find my laptop. In an effort to not lose my belongings, I put them on a cart.”

As for his office, he said it is now a conference room for staff meetings. “My number one job as an administrator is supporting educators and making sure our campus is a place where they want to stay long-term,” Lamb said in an interview with Today.

“Every morning I do rounds. I’m just checking in to see how the teachers are doing and how I can help. Do they need an emergency restroom break? Can I grab some photocopies? The small things can go a long way.”

Since it was posted on 12 July, the TikTok has been viewed more than 65,000 times with over 300 comments. The video was also posted to his Instagram page, where some people mentioned how much they liked the method and felt like it showed Lamb’s dedication to his job.

“This is brilliant!” read one comment under the principal’s Instagram post. “Not only are you ‘present’, visible, and readily available to students and staff, but you are also changing the culture of your school’s environment that provides an opportunity for building amazing relationships with students and reducing bullying."

However, other people have questioned the method for its potential to stress out teachers, who will have their boss around at all times. “Something tells me that this would make your staff 10 times more anxious than they already are. Teachers are already micromanaged enough. Probably best to just let them do their job without the principal pacing the hallways,” one person commented.

Another commenter agreed, writing: “This is NOT how you support teachers. Walk through the school, pop in to classes for a few minutes to see what’s really going on, have an open door policy that’s communicated to the staff, make them comfortable talking to you and hear/consider what they say. The cart doesn’t serve a purpose; it’s just show.”

Despite the backlash, Lamb admitted to Today that his method might not work for everyone, but it seems to be working for his school. “I’m not saying my style is best, I’m just saying it’s had a positive impact at my school,” he told the outlet. “Overall, I’ve found the responses have been more positive than negative.”

The Independent has contacted Lamb for comment.