BEING too busy to chat in the staffroom is increasing stress and undermining teachers' performance, a new report has found.
Staff who attended focus groups held by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers last month cited not being able to socialise or talk over problems with colleagues during breaks as a major source of stress and said they believed it made them less effective in the classroom.
Many teachers reported being so overloaded that they rarely went to the staffroom other than to grab post or a hurried cup of tea.
It was felt that the lack of interaction also robbed them of a valuable chance to discuss and plan work with others.
One participant in the study of 20 teachers from Manchester and Birmingham said: "From the moment you walk in the door there is no let-up. This affects your performance because you're nowhere near as relaxed as you might have been if you'd had a social conversation at break." In one school a deputy head became so concerned about the problem that he ordered staff to take their breaks to ensure that they did not become isolated.
Psychologist Dr Adam Abdelnoor said that a lack of facilities such as phone, internet and email access, was adding to the pressures of staffroom life.