Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

Avoiding the teachers’ lounge

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‘Ms. Bento’ lunch jar, just like the one I’m bringing to school every day.

It’s going to be a good year, because I’ve made the decision to skip the teachers’ lounge, and enjoy a sack lunch in my own classroom, with a good book.

Don’t get me wrong; I have colleagues who I like and respect.  But in the teachers’ lounge, I don’t get to choose just their company.  Instead, I get to spend my all-too-brief thirty minutes with whichever teachers choose to lunch there.  Along with the smart, dedicated, positive teachers, I also get to lunch with the angry, bitter, negative ones.  In fact, those are the ones who seem to most enjoy the teachers’ lounge.  They wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to loudly protest whatever terrible thing has been done to them today.

They hate the administrators, with their unreasonable demands on their time.

They hate the parents, with their angry phone calls.

They especially hate the children, in general and specific, for their noisy disrespect.

Of course, administrators will always ask us to do things we don’t feel like doing, parents will always call when they are unhappy,  and there will always be a few students who are louder and ruder than their classmates, and there will always be good students having bad days.

But for some teachers, every time this happens, it seems, not like part of the job, but like an unreasonable and unexpected attack.

And so they feel the need to tell me about it.  At length, and at top volume.

When I was a student teacher, way back in the Pleistocene, my mentor was one of a small group of teachers who chose to spend the lunch bell watching ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’  Day after day, year after year, a set of VHS tapes played in 30-minute segments while the teachers quietly ate their lunch and watched.  I think that’s healthy.  That’s restful.  Angry yelling isn’t restful.

My choice does mean I’m going to miss out on knowing interesting and important information that other teachers know.  I won’t know which of my former students has gotten pregnant, or which colleague is in hot water with the administration, or who is teetering on the brink of being fired.  I won’t know which student got arrested this weekend, or what parent chaperoned a field trip stoned.  I guess I’ll miss knowing those things.

But I won’t miss it very much.  I think I can manage to carry out my professional responsibilities satisfactorily without knowing any of it.

So look for me in my classroom, in the back, by the window, with my leftovers and my book.  I think I’ll be a happier person.

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Written by Contented Reader

September 3, 2012 at 6:27 am

Posted in Opinions

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