With it being both a communal work place and somewhere to let you hair down, the staffroom can be the ideal place for a few minutes of freedom. However the connotations that seem to come with it nowhere days are far from sunshine and smiles, many offer the view that they feel awkward, lonely and ignored, especially when in and out on day to day supply. The fear of introducing and including yourself can be somewhat of a scary thought, but as we always like to remind our pupils 'practise makes perfect'. A staffroom should be symbolic of relationships in a school and what better way to bond with other members of staff than by offering an ear for half an hour a day?! So you've got your sandwiches, mug & custard creams at the ready, but first you need to venture in....
It may be the first and hardest step of them all, but take a deep breath and remember to smile, the last thing you want is to be seen as some mysterious being who is never seen beyond the classroom. Introduce yourself, offer to make the cups of tea and make your mark. Although we all have bad days (and can act a little monstrous) many teachers don’t bite, we were all the newbie at some stage, it’s how you handle it that counts. There is also much debate on whether or not to bring welcome gifts, i.e. cakes/biscuits or some sort of sugary treat, we say do it, everyone prefers a good moan with a mouth full of doughnut and if it helps to break the ice then you’re onto a winner! (Just remember to never take the last slice, you never know who’s saving it!)
Bring Your Own Bits
You’ve been dreaming of that hot cup of tea since 9am, but you get to the cupboard and there’s not a mug in sight… Life. Over. Bringing your own essentials means that you’re always prepared, teabags, milk and coffee are also good to pop on the shopping list if it helps others out (and means that you’re not treading on anyone’s toes.) Plus, if you spot a teacher that looks in need of a good caffeine pick me up, but their supplies have run dry, you are there to save the day and vice versa.
Talk The Fun Stuff
It’s only Monday, piles of work are collecting on your desk and this morning your alarm chose not to go off. Having a little moan in the staffroom helps to get things off your chest but try to keep the chat light hearted. Ask other’s about weekend plans and holidays, what they’ve been doing in their evenings off or even what their having for tea tonight, come on, who doesn’t love a good chat about food? It’s the little things that keep people happy, having someone just ask how their day is can make the world of difference to any mood, so give it a go.
Make A Fuss
Take your hand and pop it in your pocket, is that a crumpled up tissue I see? The winter months are upon us and we’re all suffering from the dreaded cold. The Staffroom is alive with the sound of sniffles and there’s a few people on death’s door sipping Lemsip in the corners. Although we’d all love to hold our breath to stop the germs from getting in, it’s always good to make a fuss of the ones that need it, so offer to make them a cup of tea, or lend a sympathetic ear.
Do Your Fair Share
It’s stressful enough keeping your classroom tidy, so when you lock that door for lunch time, it’s safe to say that you’ll want the Staffroom to be clean. If you’re eating and drinking then clear up after yourself and make sure others are doing so too. A tidy Staffroom is a happy Staffroom and unfortunately, cleaning fairies do not exist, sigh.
Please take into consideration the following 10 steps. A Staffroom is at its happiest when…
There’s no one marking.
Half term dominates the conversation.
The knife and fork draw is full, and there’s ALWAYS teaspoons.
Fruit is banned.
It’s a Friday.
Someone has baked.
There is a spare seat to sprawl across.
The kettle is boiled upon arrival.
Everyone has won the lottery.
The biscuit tin contains some sort of chocolatey goodness, goodbye Rich Teas.