Staffroom saints

3rd November 2000 at 00:00
DATE palms round a desert watering hole. Rheumy-eyed camels nibbling at sweet tufts of grass. This is the classic oasis. But in schools, the teachers' oasis is the staffroom, particularly if there is an aroma of freshly-brewed coffee.

Teachers who relish the time that they spend in that often scruffy sanctuary will yell "hogwash!" when they read that breaktime complaints about pupils' bad behaviour can eventually lower staff morale (see page 9). The staffroom, after all, is the one place that they can let off steam. Far from reducing morale, talking about their problems helps t keep teachers sane at a time when they are working 51 hours a week on average and facing unprecedented scrutiny.

But Chris Watkins, the researcher who believes that some teachers complain too much, almost certainly knows about the staffroom's safety-valve function. His message is not that teachers should keep mum about problem pupils but that they should always try to remain calm, investigate the causes of the bad behaviour and seek solutions rather than simply moan.

Yes, he is expecting a lot of mere mortals. But who said teachers ever fell into that category?

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today