Do you enjoy going to the teachers' lounge (T.L.) or is it a place you try to avoid at all costs? I asked many of you this very question in a survey on my blog a few weeks ago. I was surprised to see that most people have strong feelings one way or the other! Take a look at these results from the 55 people surveyed (please note that I rounded to the nearest whole number so percentages may not add up to exactly 100):
1. How many times a week do you visit the T.L.?
0-2 times/try to avoid it at all costs = 35%
3-5 times = 25%
5+ times = 40%
Note that several of those that visit 3-5 times also had negative feelings about it.
2. Reasons for not going to the T.L.
No Time = 47%
Negative Talk = 23%
Unclean (catch all for junk) = 6%
Teacher Cliques = 6%
Poor Location, Set-Up or Size = 16%
Used for Meetings by Others = 3%
3. Main Reason to go to the T.L.
Socialize with Collegues = 46%
Get Mail = 8%
Break from Classroom/Students & Quiet = 14%
To Eat Lunch = 33%
Although I did not ask specifically, a few of those surveyed that had negative feelings about the teachers' lounge mentioned that they were first year teachers. One person stated, "I am a first year teacher and was counseled by others not to eat there, but chastised by my principal to do so. :( " Another said, "Sometimes my coworkers are overwhelmingly negative... as a new teacher, it's hard to know what I really need to be worried about, versus what they're moaning about that is a silly waste of time." Did you know that some colleges are even advising their education students to stay clear of the teachers' lounge? I find this to be extremely sad!
On the flip side, some of those with positive feelings toward the T.L. said, "I love collaborating with my colleagues in the lounge. We come up with our best ideas and solutions over lunch!!" and another said, "There is nothing to dislike. I have great co-workers that eat lunch in there at the same time. It is great place to get a "break" from the students and have fun adult conversation." So how can you ensure that your teachers' lounge is a positive place to be? Here are 8 simple ways to get you started!