The school staffroom: sanctuary or open-house? That is one of the hotly-debated issues in the TES online staffroom, as posters discuss the merits of opening the doors to all-comers.
Merlymoo recounts her days as a TA before becoming a teacher, when she entered the staffroom not knowing it was off-limits to non-teachers. "When I sat down, making sure I did the 'Is this anyone's chair?', they looked at me like I had two heads," she says.
But sunflower57 says teachers at her school are unhappy that the staffroom is open to all-comers, as it prevents them from getting the frustrations of the job off their chests. "You can't even chat to a teaching assistant about how to manage a child," she says.
A staffroom should be a place where teachers can get away from work, says crazycatlady101. Hers is open to parent helpers, and that often means a working lunch. "You can never have a rest because you're sitting next to the parent of a child in your class. 'Oh, while you're there can I just ask you about ... ?'" is a common question, she says.
But staffrooms can be jolly places of warmth and generosity, as thousands of teachers will soon find out when they open their secret Santa gifts. SpanishMiss, however, has a dilemma: what to buy with a #163;6 limit when chocolates, food, drink and smellies are all off-limits.
Magic_surf_bus suggests "a poster of that bloke from Twilight", but on the off-chance that might not be suitable for everyone, alliallio offers "one of those banana-shaped banana holder things". For something less fruity, Sarae.f2s has the ingenious idea of giving a biscuit voucher, then secretly popping a pack of biscuits in the recipient's pigeon-hole every week until the money runs out. Sounds marvellous, although it is taking a lot on trust to hope the biscuits will remain unmolested until they are picked up by the rightful owner.
Still in the staffroom, In_You_Go_Jones wants the answer to a question that has been bothering men since Homo sapiens moved into caves: "Why do women colleagues always announce, 'I'm off to the loo'," he ponders.
Kibosh reckons it is to stake a claim on the communal loo. Either that or "they feel the need to explain their rushed departure, in case someone thinks they were boring the arse off them." Giraffe suggests one reason is to make sure nobody thinks they are nipping out for a fag, while WeeScabbyDug, after consultation with friends, believes it is an excuse to get away from a boring man. Moonpenny offers to bring the debate to a close with the definitive answer ... but not yet. "I just need to go to the loo ... ".
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THIS WEEK'S POLL
Should 'shock and horror' anti-abortion presentations be allowed in schools?
To vote in next week's poll visit www.tes.co.ukpoll.