Mary-Jo Hill

17 Jun 2017
How do the staff in your school use their staffroom? Indeed, do you still have a staffroom?

Does your staff interact and creates real social networking?

It was only recently that I had the real privilege of working with an executive head across two schools: an Infant school and a Junior School. The two schools were incredibly close physically being just across the road from each other- and invariably the clientele of pupils and parents were pretty much the same. Yet, how differently the staff behaved within their school environments and this was largely due to some expected norms on social interaction and incidental chatter. One school had a lively, vibrant staff room, bustling with activity and with pretty much all the staff sitting down for lunch for ten or fifteen minutes or so… Taking the time to connect with their colleagues from across year groups and from those from the far corners of the building. This time was seen as invested time. Staff would connect and invariably build up the whole picture of every child and be able to ensure that the very best for that individual child was being monitored collectively and that mutual support from and for staff was high. Staff wanted a daily update from their Head of School to centre this.

The importance of social networking in the school environment

How do the staff in your school use their staffroom? Indeed, do you still have a staffroom? How is the environment set up so there are incidental chatter and social regular daily communication to grease the wheels for staff to be able to discuss and share the bigger stuff? Does the building lend itself to the regular passing of staff with each other? I meet many staff who have gone beyond this interaction with colleagues. They feel too isolated already and feel overwhelmed and overspent with work to re-connect with colleagues on the ‘smaller stuff’. They have set patterns of movement around the school which limits their interactions with others. I wonder what the “flow’ path would be of some of your staff. How often do you tread the familiar path of corridor and classroom? How could you change it tomorrow and what impact would that have?