Hurray it’s my time for lunch. For many, many years I ate lunch in the classroom with my kinder team mates. We laughed, shared personal and professional stories and planned for unexpected lessons. Then one year a kinder team mate (from next door) said she’d really like to join other faculty in the lunchroom. She went and the three of us (each kinder room had two lead teachers) stayed. Then over the next few weeks she would come back sharing funny incidents that were happening in other classrooms. So while we isolated ourselves, she reached out to her peers. A perfect example of “we’ve always done it that way” was about to be shattered and a growthmindset, before the term was popular, set in!
Here is my take away about the “lunch room.” I have read people writing about the toxicity that occurs in the teacher lounge, the negativity, dissing students, parents, administrators and other teachers and to “stay away!” Is this a place to rejuvenate or regurgitate? Is it sacrosanct: a place to vent, let your hair down? Is this a place to laugh and enjoy the cameradrie of fellow teachers? Do we talk and solve world problems (wish that could be because we had great ideas!)? Or is this a place a teacher brings a concern, a problem and we all put our heads together coming up with ideas and learning from each other?
Through the years of lunch room chatter I learned and shared what was important to me as an educator, a parent and a friend. Nothing was ever cut and dry, nor did we all agree all the time. But we were respectful, loving and caring. As I shared before, this school was my extended family, they had my back and I theirs. You don’t work at one place for 39 years and not recognize that! And I am not naive to say the underside of lunch room chatter did not occur. However for the most part we didn’t feed it. My take away with this is somewhat true about many learning experiences “What you put in, you get out!”
I wonder how many enjoy the “lunch room” or stay away because of unfortunate experiences or exposures! How many teachers have that choice or place? How do you deal with being uncomfortable around some conversations that might occur in the lunch room?