As humans we need encouragement and friendship. We need time to “chat,” time to build relationships. We need it from our family we spend most of our lives with. We need it from our friends we spend time with when we can get schedules lined up (and that’s not as often as we would like). It is 2012, so it is safe to say we need it from our community within our social media world. But often we forget we need it from people we spend most of days with – our coworkers.
Had a panic last week. The kids were wild at lunch. They are wild all day but in a lunchroom with 296 kids (& only 293 seats) it can feel more crazy if you aren’t used to them. So the AP announced that if they did not calm down the teachers would be sitting at the table with the kids. Panic, I tell you. It’s not because I don’t like the kids (though that class is a slight nightmare) but it was losing that 15 minutes of conversation with coworkers.
You see my school is a new school. We split from a 6-12 to a 6-8 school 3 years ago. Before the split we had Friday lunch. We all had the same off period and during that time we all ate take out from local restaurants. It was nice to hang out and laugh and sometimes even complain. It made us closer as a group. Since we have moved to new school, our lunch schedules have never completely matched up and we have had off periods by ‘team.’ Not only was the camaraderie gone but it had almost felt like it was our team vs their team. This year we all have lunch at the same time. So for this 15 minutes we have that time to laugh at the day (you know bc if we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane). Hey we all need that moment to quote “Bad Teacher” (don’t judge it gets us through the day – teachers report to your quadrants).
Principals, please remember this. You need to cut out time for your teachers to spend together. Maybe a duty free lunch once a week or twice a month. I know of an amazing principal who has retreats for his staff to take a day and bond. Most businesses have coworker retreats but we don’t take the time as teachers, that is wrong. And I don’t just mean a time we can all bring food but then eat it back in the lunch room, but time without kids. The bond is needed. It is so important. Your teachers are adults, they need time with adults. Most leave school and go straight home to more kids. I promise, this eventually leads to insanity. I feel it nipping at my heels often. You don’t teachers having breakdowns do you? The state of Alabama has already taken away most PD & teacher work days with the new tourism law, so the bonding that takes place during lunches and breaks on those days is already gone. We must find time to replace them.
Better yet, not only give them this time but join them sometimes. You might find out how human they really are, and they may do the same.
I’m not knocking my administration, they probably have never even thought about this & how it is effecting us. But I know I have admins that read this blog. Those who do, just think of a way to help your employees. Also, teachers who get that time and aren’t taking advantage of it, please do. It will help you in the long run.