The funny thing about teaching in different schools is that no matter how different they are, one thing remains the same. Yes, the environment may be different, the socio-economic climate may be different, the behaviour may be different, but there is always a constant:
So, who can you expect to encounter in the average staffroom? Here, we take a look at five of the key personalities to be found in that safe haven when the bell rings for lunch…
Often a PE or geography subject specialist, this is the teacher who will nominate themselves for all the residential trips – particularly if they involve skiing in the Pyrenees. Athletic, they will talk in a loud voice about their weekend run, rock climbing or football match. They love a practical joke and “banter” is their staple form of conversation. Invariably found lounging on the staffroom sofas during lunch breaks, they should be avoided if you have something important to do – you’ll never get away before the bell.
Often a drama or English teacher, the female of the species wafts around in long skirts and scarves, while the male prefers waistcoats and trendy trainers. Their conversation is usually vague, unless data is mentioned, when they become voluble, specific and expletive-laden. They have a horror of technology and are capable of crashing any computer in the school, simply by turning it on. They dislike authority and can often be found muttering about senior management while nursing a cup of coffee.
Usually a trainee or NQT, this teacher is unbearably bouncy. Not yet dented by the pitfalls of the profession, they come in every day at 7am and stay for twelve hours, lovingly changing the displays in their room or creating brand new worksheets from scratch. They have boundless enthusiasm, and can often be spotted out on the fields during lesson time, trying a new “outdoor experience” with their class, or playing “learning games” in the corridor. This breed is particularly rare because it is short-lived. Be on the alert for burn-out and have copious cups of tea ready for when they crash.
This type must run on rocket fuel. They must. Their books are always marked – not just cursorily, but with immaculate writing, targets neatly labelled. Every single child in their class produces beautiful work. Their classroom is ordered with regimental precision, and students are not allowed in unless shirts are tucked in, ties straight, and hands are clean. Their planner is a Thing Of Beauty – perfect notes for each lesson are written in neat block capitals – and their data is always up-to-date. In short, they are not human.
This is a man or woman on the edge. Once, they looked like those teachers on government advertisements: they were neat, friendly-yet-authoritative, happy. Now, they look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards, and their tone is laced with desperation. “Harry, put that chair down. Please.” Their hair is slightly wild and their eyes have a look of exhaustion tinged with madness. The only time this look fades is when they are in the classroom, doing what they love. This type didn’t get into the profession for the data or the marking or the planning. They are hanging on by their fingernails because they love teaching.
So, which teacher stereotype are you?
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