When I first started teaching, I remember receiving the advice (more than once) to avoid the teachers’ lounge. They would tell me to stay away because it was a negative environment where people only go to complain.
Of course, being a new teacher, I just smiled and nodded, but I always felt that was unfair advice to give someone starting out. If all of the positive and optimistic teachers are told to stay out of the lounge, of course it is going to be a negative place! Maya Angelou said, “What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it.” And I think this is true! If you want the teachers’ lounge to be a positive space, you first have to encourage the positive staff members to go there. You also have to create a space for teachers that promotes collaboration, inspiration, celebration, and humor!
Below you will find 10 ideas to make your teachers’ lounge a more positive space:
Set up a Staff Kudos Board
I once had a principal who left notes of appreciation (and a small treat) in teachers’ mailboxes for little things she had noticed teachers doing (staying late at school working, helping out at an after-school event, giving extra help at lunch etc.). It was such a small gesture, but it had a dramatic impact on the morale of the staff. Bring this kind of positivity into your teachers’ lounge by setting up a “Staff Kudos Board” where staff members can give kudos to their colleagues to congratulate, support, or show appreciation.