In schools nationwide there is an issue becoming more noticeable, one which unfortunately won’t make the news. That issue is the abandonment or in some cases, the complete disappearance of the school staffroom.
As near as 10 to 20 years ago, the centre of the school would be a sanctuary for teaching staff. In the heat of the education sector, it was the only place that could guarantee two things – no pupils and permission to relax.
The value of the modern day staffroom cannot be underestimated. With the heavy workload laid upon our teachers it is paramount that they have time to relax, even for a short period of time within their hectic working day. Due to numerous factors, some school staffrooms across the UK are now going unused.
Of course, we wouldn’t be talking about education without talking about the dreaded budgets. This is one of the main factors in the slow demise of the staffroom, the idea of an empty room not being used for pupils is frowned upon. Some staffrooms are now even being used as extra storage space too.
Secondly, teachers just don’t appear to have the time to take a break. Teachers eating in classrooms and corridors has now become the norm, couple this with detentions and clubs in lunchtime and it would appear on the outside as if there is just no need for a “staffroom”. Some schools even expect their staff to eat with the pupils in a canteen or cafeteria.
There is also a controversial reason too, some arguments have been made that modern senior leadership strategies have been created to try and avoid the prospect of teacher “gossip”. That is definitely a discussion for another day and we’re sure it would go case by case.
The lack of a quiet space for teachers to reflect in will most certainly hasten the “burnout” of our educators. Staffrooms help teachers to reconnect with themselves, other industries are contractually obliged to give their employees proper timed breaks from their work, why should education be any different?
We’re sure that most teachers wouldn’t argue for staffrooms with anything other than tea and coffee and some comfortable seating in, for the wellbeing of teachers everywhere, it’s not a big ask.
The most valuable resource within a school is those teachers who hammer away on the front line for hours a day, I’m sure they aren’t expecting a games room with waiter service but a humble staffroom is, and always has been, a worker’s right.
What is your staffroom situation? Do you get a regular break? Let us know in the comments section below.