Who goes in the staffroom?

(17 Posts)
Happy36 Mon 04-Aug-14 00:55:46

I teach at a British school overseas. We have a staffroom and the head comes in every day before tutor time, at first break and at lunchtime. He is a bit of an awkward chap and tends to sit or stand alone or sometimes someone feels sorry for him and makes some small talk.

My colleagues who have arrived recently from the UK think it´s weird / inappropriate that the head comes in to the staffroom - on the grounds that we should be able to talk "openly" in there, i.e. criticise management without fear of repercussions (or mention how hungover we are...)

What do you think?

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Mon 04-Aug-14 09:18:03

In the (secondary) schools I have taught in, the Head has come in a specific times for staff briefing, and then left. Mostly it is the TAs and support staff that populate the staff room.
A friend of mine who is a school governor in a school that is being refurbished has said there will not be a staff room in the remodelled building. Other organisations and companies do not have staff rooms - why should schools? The need to 'have somewhere to complain about senior management' hardly seems like an adult occupation, and not a good reason to set aside space.

Maidupmum Mon 04-Aug-14 10:07:49

I'm a HT and tend to call in at lunchtime a couple of times a week to sit & have a chat/laugh with the staff. It keeps me in touch with their personal lives (partner's/children's name/birthdays/issues at home) and makes it easier to relate to each of them individually.

trinity0097 Mon 04-Aug-14 20:02:00

Our head comes in and has a chat, perfectly normal behaviour if he wants to keep in with the teachers! Spends about 5-10min there at break time, a bit longer if the cake is good!

Mrsgrumble Mon 04-Aug-14 20:07:43

Our head uses the staff room for all breaks. She is lovely and will always remember special occasions etc. in saying that, conversation is fairly sober. Current affairs, family chat and so on.

Littleturkish Mon 04-Aug-14 20:14:05

I'd rather the staff room went so we could all have smaller tea rooms (needed for paperwork/confidential office for discussions) and to make more teaching space.

Happy36 Wed 06-Aug-14 13:59:06

Our staffroom was created this past year, we´d never had one before. I suppose the difference between staffrooms in schools and in other workplaces is that many other workplaces, such as offices, are not "client facing". It´s nice for the staff to have an area where students don´t come in - a place to work during breaks or frees as previously we had to go outside to the playground (or just loiter in corridors or the bathroom). Our staffroom also has the photocopier and a few computers which we fight over to use during frees. In the same way staff who work in shops or salons have areas which are not open to their customers.

However Littleturkish has a better idea about small offices for departments or subject areas. I´d really love that! We don´t even have a space to store books (English department!)

Personally I have no problem with the head coming in, but I was interested in others´ perspectives as so many of my colleagues are shocked by it or think it´s inappropriate.

Hulababy Wed 06-Aug-14 14:05:09

I work at an infant school and all staff use the staffroom - teachers, TAs, support staff. It is far too small and not enough seats, but we manage - we just squish up and share room. Its pretty full most lunchtimes, and many morning breaks too. People often stop and chat up there first thing in a morning too.

Last HT came in to make her lunch and get a drink, but didn't sit and socialise in there much. New HT (was DH) sits in staffroom more and chats.

zingally Sun 10-Aug-14 17:34:58

It seems to vary from school to school. I've worked in 5 different schools however, and only one HT stayed in the staffroom for any length of time and ate her lunch with us.
The others would come in to make cups of coffee, but then would be off again.

GlaceDragonflies Wed 20-Aug-14 01:22:38

I can't imagine a school without a staff room. I'm a school governor so I don't see it every day but I'd imagine that the teachers and TAs etc need somewhere to get away from the children?

Phineyj Wed 20-Aug-14 17:21:09

Where is the poor Head supposed to get a cup of coffee if not allowed in the staff room? I think it's a good sign if the Head socialises with the foot soldiers now and again. Even if they struggle with small talk.

Happy36 Thu 21-Aug-14 13:44:33

Hello Phineyj, I agree, it´s not something that I object to myself but as many of my colleagues have commented on it being inappropriate I wondered if there was a culture of management-free staffrooms in the UK (our school´s abroad).

Incidentally, our head has a Nespresso machine and a mini-fridge in the "ante room" of his office so if I were him I would definitely stick to using that than drinking the brown caffeine stew that appears intermittently in the staffroom, (often without cups, or milk, or both!)

threepiecesuite Thu 21-Aug-14 14:14:12

Our Head has a PA to make his coffee angry
Nobody goes in our (massive) staff room. We're in a new build and the staff room is a long walk from teaching areas. We only get a half hour lunch so there's really no time. Staff take their breaks in the 'break-out' areas outside classrooms, but it means mixing with (and often supervising) rowdy teenagers when you're trying to have a quiet 5 minutes.
The Head's 'divide and conquer' plan seems to have worked. Nobody has the time to talk to each other anymore.

Our Head only ever comes in for briefing or to pass through on the way to the loo. Not many members of SLT come in (its deemed unprofessional apparently to be seen fraternizing with the minions/ they are too busy/ important) but one or two pop up for a brew if they get chance.

Other than that it tends to be quite busy, especially as we have a lot of building works, not enough classrooms and the department 'offices' are either non-existent or awful like mine. Plus we have tea, coffee and biccies there. Saying that some depts never ever come up, which is very sad.

My previous school deliberately never had a staffroom built, a the head hated us speaking to each other and there was a definite culture of divide and rule there.

Mostlyjustaluker Thu 21-Aug-14 16:26:02

I don't go to the staff room in my current school as it is in a different building and too far to get there and back at lunch time.

At previous school the head would make herself available in staff room at break so people could speak to her about issues ect but she often stood to one side not to make people feel uncomfortable.

CatherineofMumbles Thu 21-Aug-14 16:44:26

Interesting - I was talking recently to a School Governor who lobbied (successfully) to have no provision for a staff room in a massive rebuilding project. There are small departmental rooms only.
I have not taught for a few years now in a school, but do remember that in the schools without a staff-room it was difficult to build relationships across departments, and I do believe that the children benefit from their teachers, across subjects, knowing each other. I had one pupil who was particularly impossible difficult to motivate in my subject - heard in the staffroom he had achieved an A* in his mock history exam. I congratulated him on this, and he was a changed person after that - totally surprised that I took an interest in him other than as a French candidate. He started working like a powerhouse, and went on to improve his French grade from predicted G in January (optimistic!) to a safe C in August...

Staff rooms are very important places. Teachers must be able to all get together in a place where they can speak to each other about pupils. Catherine's example above illustrates this well. It's also useful for pupils to know that all their teachers are in one place if they need to see them. At my school teachers have to go to the staff room at break.
This no staff room business is madness.

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