Teachers are a hardworking bunch, often spending more time at school than we do at home.
So what could possibly make a full day of teaching, marking and meetings better?
Snacks. The answer is snacks.
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Think of the rush to the staffroom when it’s someone’s birthday, or the way people’s faces light up when the biscuit tin has been replenished.
So which snacks are the best? (And by that I mean most popular.)
I undertook some comprehensive research into snacks at my school and on Twitter to find out what people like best.
The classic option. Biscuits can be quite good value, especially if you opt for a multipack of classics like custard creams and bourbons, which go further than the fancier packs.
Many teachers enjoy dunking their biscuits into a cup of tea so something sturdy like Digestives or Hobnobs usually goes down well. However, Viennese fingers proved very popular with some (fancy?) teachers on social media.
This is my go-to option when I’m buying stuff for my birthday, but getting enough can be an issue – you never know who might take a huge slice! And if you’re having cake in a staff meeting, definitely put one person in charge of the cutting.
We had doughnuts on our second Inset day at the start of the year and our headteacher made us eat them without licking our lips – fun at the time but not practical for meetings or when you’re in a rush.
There’s also the perennial question of custard vs jam. Who could possibly choose? (Answer: get both.)
Bumper snack pots
Supermarkets do good deals on tubs of flapjacks, brownies, millionaire’s shortbread bites and rocky road bites. You get quite a lot for your money and there’s variety so people can’t moan. There’s nothing worse than buying snacks only to have someone kick off because they don’t like chocolate.
Hot cross buns
One headteacher said she brings in hot cross buns throughout the year and they always go down well. I think anything that is a bit different always seems like a treat. This is the same when people bring in homemade cakes: it feels even more special.
During my last Ofsted inspection, I stocked the staffroom with snacks and the one thing that kept needing to be refilled was the sweets bowl. Every couple of hours, I’d top it up with an array of gummy, fizzy and fruity sweets.
Maybe it’s because it’s easy to grab on the go or because having a couple of sweets doesn’t feel as naughty as a slice of cake? Definitely something to consider when you’re on snack duty!
An unexpected suggestion. I’ve never seen mints in a meeting or in the staffroom but I do love a mint in the car. They can be quite sugary but it’s something different and a useful alternative to baked goods.
Some teachers (I've not met them) don’t like sweet snacks and so often feel neglected when faced with what’s on offer. Perhaps we ought to start catering for the savoury needs of our colleagues?
Suggestions included crisps, pork pies, hummus, crackers, cheese straws and salami.
And then there are those teachers who don’t want to stuff their faces with snacks every week. Fair enough. For our healthy colleagues, I’d suggest fresh fruit, flavoured rice cakes and celery, cucumber and carrot sticks.
And of course, there is always the option not to snack. But I can’t imagine a week at school without something to munch on.
The overwhelming consensus was that snacks should be small bites with as little admin as possible. Quick and easy is key. Hopefully, this helps for the next time you’re on snack duty for your team meeting. And if there isn’t a snack rota, make one. Everyone will thank you for it (between mouthfuls).
Shannen Doherty is a Year 4 teacher in South London