Monday, December 31, 2007

Teachers Lounge – Avoid or Visit?

So many times as a young teacher I have been told not to go to the Teacher’s Lounge but I think that is wrong. I think I should have been told not to engage in gossip and negative talk but a lot can be gained from going to the Teacher’s Lounge. My last school did not have a teacher’s lounge so a few teachers would meet in my classroom to eat lunch every day. I also had a Get Together on the last Friday of every month (Let’s celebrate the last Friday of the month!) in my room for everyone who had 7th period planning with me. I asked them to bring a snack to share and just come to my room to relax. I usually had a big group of teachers from all different subjects, levels of experience, and ages who joined me and we had a great time! I think there are more positives than negatives to the Teacher’s Lounge and this collegiality should be encouraged.

1. You can be inspired by new ideas.
2. You get to know other teachers to add to your support system.
3. You can bounce new ideas off of others.
4. You can ask more experienced teachers some questions.
5. Procedural questions and confusion can be cleared up.
6. You can laugh to relieve stress.
7. You can feel like part of the “team” which relieves stress.
8. You can learn what other teachers are doing in their classrooms and adapt it to yours.
9. You can get discipline ideas for your classroom.
10. You can share your personal life with others.
11. You can share dreams and ambitions with others.
12. You can learn new crafts and hobbies from others.

Sure there are bad things about the Teacher’s Lounge but I think that is true about any profession. You just need to make sure that you don’t engage in the gossip and negative thoughts. The good reasons definitely outweigh the bad ones to me. If you can think of any other positives please let me know and if you disagree, feel free to comment too. Thanks for reading!


Mathew said...

I agree. For better or worse you need to be a part of the team. Many new teachers don't seem to eat if they don't go to the teacher's lounge so I'd add that you don't become a better teacher by working through your breaks.

loonyhiker said...

I think your comment about breaks is great! You were exactly right about that!

EHT said...

It has been my experience that the same conversations that might go on in a teacher's lounge are the same ones that might exist in the lunchroom or a teacher's room during a break.

Whether or not I stay and participate depends on the nature of the conversation. If the subject matter is always negative then that particular group might not be the best for you. That being said I believe you also need a trusted co-worker that you can vent to as well.

I agree with Mathew as well. Early in my career I worked through breaks thinking I was getting ahead. That is not necessarily so.

Lisa said...

I am sorry to say that I disagree with most of the postings. I work in an innercity district where a lot of teachers are unhappy with their positions. I am a special ed. teacher and eat at my desk in order to stay caught up with paperwork. I cannot stand the negativity in the staff lounge. I feel I am able to keep my positive outlook because I refuse to be exposed to teachers constantly complaining and being negative. I also leave work on time, since I am caught up, the others stay late because they chose to sit in the lounge for 30 minutes and complain. I envy those teachers who work with caring professionals.

loonyhiker said...

Lisa: I'm sorry you don't have a more positive environment. Is there a way that you could invite some of them to eat lunch with you and jokingly say, "bring some positive stories!" Maybe you could bring about some change that others might be grateful for. Just a thought...