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Staffroom Courtesies

Lynne is a Secondary Teacher working in high schools through Protocol Education in Bristol and a regular Protoblogger! Her post today explains why she thinks a staffroom is an important part of a school - even if some teachers get possessive over seats!

Today I was sitting in a quiet corner of a staffroom at lunchtime eating my sandwich and reading my book when a man reached behind me and opened the window. There were plenty of other closed windows but he chose mine. The cold wind to which we have been subject of late immediately made itself felt so I gathered up my lunch and belongings and moved away.

As I passed him I mentioned to the window opener that it would have been courteous to have asked before freezing me out. The response? "I always sit where you were sitting and I always open the window." Unbelievable. I thought that sort of thing was as dated as Quartermaine. This man was one of those drab teachers of indeterminate middle age whom I cannot imagine coping with educational innovation if he cannot cope with someone sitting in 'his' chair in the staffroom.

I have only ever done supply work in in one school without a staffroom but I understand that it is an increasing trend. In that particular case I had to eat my sandwich in the classroom since the department did not invite me into the workroom where they were lunching. I refuse to go to that school any more, not because of the lack of somewhere civilised to eat, but because there was absolutely no support when some pupils' behaviour was unspeakable.

However I do believe these are not unrelated. Whenever I go into a good staffroom I hear teachers sharing their thoughts about students; this is not possible if they are spending their breaks isolated in workrooms and offices. Divide and rule is an effective management tool - especially if the leadership feels vulnerable. In my experience the schools where behaviour is best also have morning staff briefings, another situation some managers prefer to avoid but which, in my view, can promote a positive teamwork approach. 

So, give me a school with a staffroom anytime. Even if I run the risk of sitting in the wrong seat.

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Tags: Lyn, Supply Teacher, Secondary, Staffroom, Manners, Teach in Bristol, Protocol Education

Category: Australian Teachers


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