Amid all the classrooms and miscellaneous janitor closets, one room always held a certain mysterious aura: the teachers' lounge. What goes down in the teachers' lounge largely depends on the school or, in certain cases, the department. Most people - adults and students alike - assume the teachers' lounge strictly sees a lot of photocopying, Tupperware, and venting about nightmare parents.
While those things do occur in the lounge, many teachers of Reddit describe confined and cliquey spaces that feel no different than high school. Plenty of terrible educators use the teachers' lounge to get away with saying all sorts of inappropriate stuff about students and staff alike. According to one teacher, assessing a teachers' lounge beforehand can tell you a lot about the school itself.
When teachers share secrets about the teachers' lounge, you start to see that delinquency is not exclusive to students.
From Redditor /u/bdiap:
I went to visit some of my old math teachers after I graduated high school. I walked in to their math teacher's lounge and interrupted a Nerf battle.
Proudest day of my life.24482Is this surprising?
Lounges Aren't Necessarily Relaxing
From Redditor /u/Sciencetist:
At one of the schools I practice-taught at, the teachers' lounge situation was horrible.
There was only one lounge room for the whole school (grades 7-9), so either you ate there, or you stayed in your classroom. After a while, I stopped eating there.
The whole atmosphere felt like you were tiptoeing through broken glass. Student teachers and subs didn't have it too well. In the room, cliques were formed. Since it goes against policy to be outright mean to other teachers, undermine them, or insult them, teachers talk in metaphors to convey their dislike for something someone has said/done. Often they draw parallels between other teachers, using stupid sh*t kids have done/said in class. And you can't call attention to it directly, because you'll look like a fool.
Other times, some teachers will even set you up to trap you. For instance, I witnessed a teacher completely turn around what one of the subs said by interpreting it the worst way possible (though she clearly didn't mean it that way), and carry on the conversation normally as if this was how it was really intended, brushing it off like a small aside. Or they just have a really roundabout way of insulting people. I'll give two examples:
Example One: the teacher I was practice-teaching with was cooking chicken in the oven, and someone made a crack about not taking it out too soon. Just a joke. He responds with "Yeah, it'd be funny if I got salmonella." Me, wanting to leave a good impression and not hating dark humor, chuckled slightly, while the entire room kept silent and stared at the floor. My teacher caught my eye and gave me a sh*t-eating grin. One of the female teachers responds with, "That wouldn't be funny". Finally, after an excruciating silence, during which I wasn't sure how to defend myself, one of the male teachers eases the tension, saying "Oh, it was just a joke." Unbearable.
Example Two: My first day ever in such a large staff room, where the entire staff is assembled. I wasn't quite sure how the procedure worked for when to talk vs. when not to talk. One side of the table would have their own discussion, while the other side would have theirs, and there'd be a few groups talking about things in between sometimes. The conversation died at our end of the table, and I started trying to establish rapport with my professor by telling him a story. He gazed ahead at the other end, clearly not paying attention. I ended my story prematurely on a flat, but acceptable, note. He voiced to the woman talking at the end of the table, "Sorry, can you repeat that? We didn't quite GET that down this end" "You didn't GET that, you said?" "Yeah, we didn't quite GET that" (emphases theirs).
Not too bad when it's put into words, but pretty traumatic at the time, when you're brand new to a school, feeling a bit anxious, and doing everything you can to leave a good impression and be accepted. My teacher also insulted me underneath his breath on a few occasions. Of course, I can't call attention to it. It was a fairly horrendous experience, but it strengthened me, and I feel like it prepared me for anything similar. I know how I'd handle myself in those situations from now on.
Also, the female teachers talk about who's dating who (yes, in junior high), and why they won't work out, and that, oh no, that's controversial, because she was holding hands with this other guy just yesterday.
The other school I was at was more positive and accepting, and people mainly just b*tched about how much of an arseh*le Kid A was, how Kid B essentially runs the school, and how Kid C has potential, but prefers d*cking around all the time.
The thing that offended me most, though I didn't show it? This one kid, who was quiet, a good worker, and never hurt anyone or did anything wrong ever, showed up to a teacher's class after school for extra help in math. This teacher looked at us all and goes "F*cking shoot me" before traipsing over to the kid with a big, lying smile on her face. Yes, f*ck the kid who's actually putting an effort into school, and who wants to do his best to learn and become a better, more well-rounded person. F*ck the kid who never caused a single teacher a problem, and is taking his own time off after school to request some extra help. I would jump at the opportunity to help out any kid who showed that much determination. I never had a problem with that teacher before then. I hated her after that.14241Is this surprising?
Different Lounges Make For Different Scenes
From Redditor /u/kettlehelm_the_codge:
At my schools (High School, Texas, 2,500 kids) it depends on the lounge. I know because I make it a point to visit all the lounges from time to time to keep my spy network active and happy.
Social Studies - all ESPN, all the time. Since I know diddly about sports, I get a kick out of saying "Can you believe the call in the game the other day?" and watching the heated conversation unfold. No one's caught on yet. The coaches are a great source of first line intervention if I have a kid that I can't bring around.
Math - a sh*tload of b*tching about how dumb kids are and what worksheet they should do next. Seriously, our math teachers suck professionally, personally, and in their relationship building with the kids.
English - they are all on their Kindles or Nooks. Really. There is minimal socialization and it's damn hard to get a conversation going. Although I did walk in one day and one of them looked at me and said "Kettle, do you know who Jenna Jameson is?" No context was ever given.
Science (mine): About three conversations at any one time. There's a group at one edge of the big table playing Clash of Clans and offering each other advice. Another group is laughing about silly things the kids have done or said, but there's not that much b*tching about how bad or how dumb they are. Dirty jokes and clean ones too. Sharing of food and once-a-month potlucks. We're pretty positive. There's a sports group, but it's focused on our kids, not major teams. We're loud, profane as sh*t, and generally hilarious. Other teachers come hang out with us when they need a break and administration has learned to knock before entering because they don't want to officially hear what we're saying.
Special Ed: Not a lot. They're so scattered out that it's rarely more than two people at a time and they just talk about their day, nothing too enthusiastic.
Theater and band: I come out of there exhausted by how much energy they have, how they can make kids work like no one's business and by the sheer amount of kids they know so much about. They are the best relationship builders ever.
Secretary's Lounge: This is where I learn everything useful about my school. I always come with gifts: drinks, candy, muffins and never leave without Grade A intelligence. They're savvy and know that's why I'm doing it, but they also know I keep confidences and actively work to make their jobs easier however I can. If I ever run the CIA, the first thing I'll do after having a high-profile affair is bring all my field agents in and send all the secretaries out.
Janitors and Lunch Ladies: Multiple conversations, multiple languages, always interesting food. I also bring them drinks and candy, and even buy everyone lunch once in a while. Not because I want to use them as spies, but because of all the damned hard work they do. These men and women take care of my building, my room, and my kids. It's not uncommon to see them talking with students from their own ethnic groups and being encouraging and sometimes a little butt kick-ish when needed.15453Is this surprising?
Teachers Plot Against "Problem" Students
From Redditor /u/thisSundog:
My mother has been a teacher for almost 20 years now, and there was one school she was at where, every week, they would put up a picture of a different kid on the notice board in the teachers' lounge. Now generally this kid would be one of the trouble students, always mouthy, always aggressive, etc. and they told every teacher to give this kid a hard time when they saw them. They found that if every single teacher, over the space of a week, just gave them sh*t about every little thing like uniform, haircut, shoes (this is in Britain so we have full uniforms no matter where you go), lateness, homework, projects, future, gum, everything, that they would be so just beaten down and detention-ed out by the end of the week they'd generally be a lot better - at least for the few following weeks.
I dunno how effective it actually was though but it sort of explained why sometimes some kids just got a real bad week.12133Is this surprising?