The Things they Don't Teach You in College: Building a Good Staffroom Environment
The one thing in college there could be a whole module about is how to navigate the staffroom is 100 easy steps!
I worked on a summer course a few summers ago, where we discussed in detail the stresses in their life and in school. One of the main areas of stress for many teachers seemed to be the staffroom. It is from that experience that I have collated a few ideas that might support and help you.
1. Take the Lead: The staffroom can be brightened up; a picture, an ornament, a cushion - even some inspirational quotes on the wall! The staffroom is such an important social artery at times in the school, but sometimes Principals who have so much to deal with, will ensure there is tea/coffee and cups but the rest.... thats up to us, and we can ask and make changes that make it a place you look forward to.
2. Club Together for Appliances; Initiate a fundraising drive for extra microwaves or just bring a sandwich! The line for the microwave in winter is like the line for a new iPhone release!. If you like (need) something hot, club together and get an extra microwave! It will save you a few more minutes to eat your lunch!
3. Bring Treats: Have a treat day or bring treats. Teachers need sugar, all the sugar, and as much as teachers give out, treats the odd random day can really brighten the day of others.
4. Play Musical Chairs: Sit in different places, talk to different people in a staffroom, and move around. It can be refreshing to do it, but not all the time. Sometimes having a routine and place can be very supportive and helpful - so mix it up only when you can.
5. The Staffroom as a Shared Space; The Staffroom can be a place of escape from the classroom, the only respite from a difficult class, a tough day and the business of everything. There are 20 - 30 minutes to heat your lunch, make your tea and take a break. Blowing off steam about something that happened in class humour, incidental or otherwise is important. However, some might be taking a break from the class and sometimes its good to be mindful of others and the shared space.
6. Adults Only!: Think about could you minimise children popping into the staffroom for spoons or cups. Sometimes the door opening, the children asking, someone moving can disrupt the only moment staff get to themselves. Pop some plastic spoons and cups in each class so kids have the small bits they need if they forget, and teachers can get a few uninterrupted minutes.
So the next time your in your staffroom, have a think about how YOU could improve it and give it a go!