6 Peculiar Features of a School Staff Room

Instant Coffee


Artisan coffee this ain’t. If it’s flavour or quality you’re after in the school staffroom, then you’re going to have to wait for the end of the day, but nothing beats a good freeze-dried for speed of preparation and a quick caffeine hit. One of the fascinating things about the staff room is that you’ll often find a selection of instant coffees on the kitchen side, the difference of which is negligible, presumably bought with the vain hope that the experience can be improved upon finding the right brand.

Fear Factor for Pupils

A pride of teachers on their way to the school staffroom

A staff room is a scary place for pupils. It may be the primal alarm caused by teachers en masse buzzing in and around a shared space like bees around a hive; it may be because students have occasionally had to observe their detentions standing sadly outside the door, whilst their peers stand ten yards away mocking them; it may be because exceptional pupils have been dragged inside once or twice to be ashamedly applauded by a hundred uncool adults. Whatever the case, the fear factor is never worked for by teachers but is always there for students.

Collegiality vs Non-Collegiality


One could easily feel confounded by the lack of visible collegiality within a school staffroom. There are very few “go team!” moments in which a group of teachers resolve themselves to defy the odds and collaboratively determine that they will overcome the marking of their year 9 assessments despite being in the midst of GCSE season. Indeed there is nary a kind work spoken or a merry chuckle raised. Nevertheless being in the staff room remains a collegiate experience simply because we’re all in it together; be that a collective dismay or a group sulk there are commonalities to be found, and accordingly a gentle sense of community is achieved.

Hallowed Hush during Lesson Times


Often during break times the staff room is filled with the hustle-bustle of busy teachers as they appear optimistically, hoping to grab a hot drink, or make their way to the hub to share some horror story from period two. However as soon as the bell has gone you could be forgiven for thinking you are in a cathedral as a beatific silence descends and the few “lucky ones” who have afforded themselves a free period resume their gentle keyboard tapping as they prepare for their next contact time.

No English Team Members

The English teachers are never in the school staffroom

Where oh where have the English teachers gone, where oh where could they be? This shy, retiring breed is rarely seen in the whole school staffroom, instead preferring to retire to their own departmental space where they can heap praise on Shakespeare and muddle over modal verbs to their hearts’ content without having to share breathing room with their non-core comrades.

Sink Full of Dirty Mugs

Dirty dishes in the school staffroom

It’s not the only walk of life in which you’ll observe this phenomenon, but staff rooms can be particularly odious when it comes to unwashed dishes. There is a casualty to the speed coffee drinking that a teacher’s timetable demands, and that usually comes in the form of poor mug hygiene, and consequently the unfortunate cleaner who is on the staff room shift rota. Make sure it’s not you that’s making their life a misery.

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