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.