Saturday, 23 May 2015

NQT Tips - Staffroom Etiquette

Make your breaktimes more restful by reading our dos and don’ts of staffroom behaviour
It’s seen as hallowed space. Some even bar children from entering. It’s a place where you can kick off your shoes and get comfy on the sofa and maybe even on a Friday evening,share a glass or two of wine. The staffroom is a haven for most teachers; that is if you like to spend your breaks in the company of the entire school staff group in one usually quite confined room.
You could go out and give it a miss but for those who choose to stay and reap the benefits of sharing close quarters with colleagues ignore the house rules at your peril:
  • Use your own mug. You might be feeling frazzled after your Year 6s have pushed every button imaginable, and a quick cup of tea before you dash off to make sure they haven’t set any booby traps by the school entrance would be just the thing you need. But if you commit the cardinal sin of taking someone else’s mug, then be prepared for the backlash. It has been known for the entire morning break to be taken up with staff deep in conversation over missing cups, who has got them, where they were last placed, how could someone mistake their cup for someone else’s, and similar high brow discussions.
  • Wash it up afterwards. Don’t twist the knife in the heart of your victim by leaving their beloved mug abandoned and filthy in the sink. Wipe the tears from their eyes by leaving their mug in pristine condition and put it back in its rightful place.
  • Don’t take the last doughnut. All schools have at least one day of the week when treats are kindly brought in for staff. They commonly include sugary, jammy doughnuts; muffins, home-made cakes and chocolate logs. In other words, the type of thing that the government wants to ban from children’s lunchboxes is to be found on the coffee table in the school staffroom. Though you will look longingly at the final slice of mouth-wateringly delicious chocolate log sitting temptingly on its own, don’t make the fatal mistake of eating it. If you do, the whole of the staff team will gather together to play the longest game of ‘Whodunnit?’ you have ever seen.
  • If you borrow anything from the staffroom, usually books or any other kind of resource, don’t forget to put it back. The red-faced teacher who looks in exasperation for lesson plans for next week’s PE timetable will not take kindly to the fact that you forgot to bring them back from home. Some will even highlight your error to anyone present in the staffroom at the time, most of whom will be horrified at your shameless behaviour.
  • Always make a fuss of anyone who has been off sick, even if it is only for one day and even if your mum saw them out shopping in the sales during the school day. It is always good manners to find out how people are feeling when they have been off sick, but in the staffroom, this often takes on a dramatic level. Heartfelt enquiries about a person’s well-being accompanied by pale, concerned faces, and hugs are common types of behaviour. The person who was ill may like to reciprocate and describe in complex detail the various stages and manifestations of their illness to the shock, horror and sympathy of colleagues.

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