Here’s what teachers gain by ‘boycotting’ the staffroom

Teachers should make sure to have some time that is just for them, says Adam Black

Here’s what teachers gain by ‘boycotting’ the staffroom

A fortnight-long staffroom boycott was a wonderful experience. It was last month I that I decided to stay away from the staffroom for a while. This wasn’t because I’d fallen out with anyone or was avoiding anyone – it was about trying something different.

I was beginning to feel a bit run down approaching the end of the school year; with paperwork coming out of my ears, going to the staffroom started to feel counterproductive. I would just sit there and think that I could be back in my classroom getting on with stuff.

So, a staffroom “boycott” was what I decided on in an effort to feel less rundown – and here’s what I found from doing it:

*I had time to read! I love going to my local library and choosing a novel but with two small children my time is minimal when it comes to reading for enjoyment. I used some of my lunches to do just that-focus on an escape. Actually having a solid 20-30 minutes of reading time meant I could really get into the story and enjoy it. It didn’t feel rushed and still left me enough time to eat and toilet. I actually found my mood in the afternoon was better and I felt less tired too.


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*I went out on walks. I also decided to use this time to get out and work towards the 10,000-step total. I found these walks to be comforting. Fresh air always helps me clear my head from a busy morning and set me up for the day ahead. I again found that I had more energy in the afternoon and that I was in a better mood. It reminded me of a club I started in a previous establishment for staff called Wednesday Walkers – I remembered the benefits that this physical activity used to bring to us and I’ll definitely be starting that again.

*I played with children. On two of the days during the “boycott” there was glorious sunshine. I decided to go out to the playground and play with some of the children. It was so nice being part of unstructured play, especially with those children I no longer teach. The past relationships built really came out and we had a ball. Again, after playing, I had more energy in the afternoon.

In the weeks following my “boycott” I have gone back to the staffroom and it has been nice catching up with colleagues socially and eating with people is nicer than solitary eating. I don’t go in every day – I’ve made sure to protect a couple of lunchtimes a week for reading or walking. On the whole, my mood and energy levels are better in the afternoon and I'm certainly in a better place after school for any collegiate activities.

If you’re feeling rundown throughout the school day, then, think about a simple change of habit – make a couple of lunchtimes a week just for you.

Adam Black is a primary teacher in Scotland who, in the New Year's Honours list, received the British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering. He tweets @adam_black23

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