Make an intentional change and cultivate a positive environment in your teachers’ lounge.
Venting to colleagues about a particular on-the-job annoyance can be cathartic and helpful if they can serve as a source for solutions. While the teachers’ lounge might be a convenient oasis to release the day’s frustrations, the old saying is true: misery loves company — but laughter is contagious. Rather than feeding into group negativity, become a lightning rod for positivity in your teachers’ lounge.
Organize a Potluck
For some people, the way to the heart is through the stomach. Food brings together people from different cultures, countries, and social backgrounds, so it should also unite educators who share common goals. Decide upon a consistent date each month and post an information sheet in the teachers’ lounge. Explain the potluck concept and ask those who are interested in participating to write down a dish that they will prepare. Invite teachers from all lunch hours to create a school-wide teachers’ lounge potluck.
Climb the Ladder Together
Though talking about leaving a job at work is never advisable, building connections and laying the groundwork to progress for career advancement is normal. Discuss career goals and priorities with colleagues within the secure environment of the teachers’ lounge. Offer to help fellow teachers by introducing connections that might be able to help each other along their career paths. If appropriate, plan a professionals’ mixer at someone’s home by inviting colleagues to a casual, yet professional, networking evening.
Rather than venting or complaining about problems on the job, work together to discover how to solve issues. Whether frustration is stemming from new faculty rules, student behavior problems, or the formulation of a tricky lesson plan, educators can help each other through tough issues. By developing solutions within the comfort of the teachers’ lounge during the school day, teachers are able to resolve issues immediately and leave problems at work without taking them home.
A Winning Team
Use the teachers’ lounge as an area to celebrate the victories of other educators. In an ideal school environment, teachers will be celebrated by superiors, yet this doesn’t always happen. Serve as the cheerleaders for each other by offering recognition for both the smallest wins and overcoming the most difficult hurdles. Whether a colleague has completed his or her next education level or made progress with a student that had struggled all year, use time in the teachers’ lounge to recognize these achievements.
The most effective path to creating a positive teachers’ lounge environment is to gauge the audience. Though it might sound trite, start by looking inward and building from within first, eventually influencing colleagues. Within a few weeks of building each other up, everyone within the teachers’ lounge might be planning to spend time together during summer break.