Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lunch Room Etiquette

I attended an informative seminar on substitute teaching before I embarked on this career some 13 years ago. The sage advice from the seminar leader - a veteran teacher - had nothing to do with the classroom. It was about lunch room etiquette - and I'm not talking about a cafeteria full of students.

My dear readers, watch your demeanor in the teacher's break room. Remember that we are a guest and to act as such. This is the regular staff's retreat for the 45 minutes or so of a lunch period. There are several conversations going on at once and our role should be a polite listener. I'm not saying to be unresponsive. To the contrary, it is a balance of being approachable but hanging back a bit until you feel the vibe it is ok to jump in. Let instinct be your guide.

I've witnessed first hand when a new substitute teacher comes in and monopolizes the conversations. I know it annoyed me, so I imagine it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard to the regular staff. It isn't pretty for that sub down the road! This behavior is looked on as irritating. Keep in mind that a teacher can tell the district office "please note that I don't want 'substitute Smith' to come to my class." Lunch room antics could be a career buster.

"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something." - Wilson Mizner

1 comment:

  1. I liked what you said about being "approachable." I am now subbing, after having been an art teacher for many years. Good advice to listen and only chime in here and there a little.


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