The pulse of your school is in your staffroom
If I want to gauge the pulse of a school, I ask to see the staff room.
Furnishings, signage, displays, colour, functionality, light, seating arrangements, work stations, pigeon holes and more provide a great starting point for considering the culture of a school and its internal communications.
There are some ‘standards’ that feature when school trust may be low, avoidance is high, and there is little relational depth between staff.
Dog-eared signs are a favourite of mine like, ‘I am not your Mother or your Father, clean-up’, ‘This fridge is not your fridge, it’s cleaned out weekly’ or this welcoming one to outsiders, ‘Staff tea/coffee only – money in the tin’!
Dating and mismatching furniture, torn blinds, long tables, seating along walls, boxes of paper, the odd jigsaw and growing sections of junk have all been part of the staffroom habitat! So too has the stash of PE equipment, faded notice boards, green wheelie bins, cold brick, blank whiteboards, the 1970s coffee cup hooks with Dymo tape labels, instant hot water that does not work and much more.
An uninviting staffroom does very little to create warmth and comfort for busy teachers seeking some high-quality respite from a hectic day. Nor does it assist in communicating your school identity from the inside out!
Why? Your staffroom reinforces whether you care about your staff or not! It says it every day, at every break, so make it count. It also signals that we want to take control of what we create in a school on a day-to-day basis.
A staffroom revamp does not have to break the school budget and is an excellent micro-project for your communications team. Have your team:
- Watch the Aesthetics of Joy – By Ingrid Fetell Lee
- Rent a skip bin
- Declutter, clean-up, throw out or give away
- Create a new floor plan
- Make a list of what you want – short, medium and long-term action
- Get started
Despite all the technological efficiencies at hand, a vibrant staff room is still one of the most critical communication tools and points of leverage in your school. It builds positivity among your staff, providing confidence and momentum for further change.