Most teachers enjoy spending time with children; it kind of goes along with the teaching territory. That being said, spending time with adults periodically throughout the day is vital; it can lift your mood or even restore sanity during an especially hectic time. Finding your spirit teaching posse, however, is easier said than done. Finding your lunchtime crew is very much akin to that first day of high school in the cafeteria. Remember how you entered the room, clutching your tray or brown sack lunch, palms sweaty, wondering where you belonged?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when looking for the right fit for your teacher tribe.
Avoid Burn-outs and the Jaded
There is nothing worse than sitting with a bunch of complainers, who currently hate teaching and find much to complain about at your school. These teachers will try to suck you into their vortex of deprecation. Be careful to avoid this scylla and charybdis of nattering nabobs of negativity and try to find folks who accentuate the positive. This is important in both thriving and floundering schools because it will allow you to build through positivity rather than stagnate.
Find the Funny, but not the Mean-Spirited
There is nothing better than regaling your teacher pals about some of the funny exploits and antics of your students. Heck, some of us got into teaching just so we could share these hilarious gems with our friends, both teachers and non-teachers. Having a few good laughs at lunch can definitely brighten up your day, but there is a thin line that it is important not to cross: demeaning or tearing student down is a definite red-flag, and a sign of someone who is not going to be a supportive colleague. Chances are if they use language that is pejorative towards students, that they tend to use that tone in general, and maybe even about you!
If You Build it, They Will Come
But what if your perfect group of like-minded people doesn’t exist yet at your school? Create it yourself! Enjoy adding some activity to your day? Create a lunchtime walking group. Are you a music aficionado? Host lunch in your classroom and create the soundtrack. Or are you a foodie? Make or find some truly amazing guacamole and invite the staff to a guac lunch party in your room once a week. Most teachers, like any human, cannot resist a tasty treat, and food is a good way to their heart and friendship. Food has a funny way of bringing a community together. Whatever your interest, chances are that there is at least other person at your school who shares it. And when all else fails? You can turn to your community here at EdCourageMentor.
What other strategies have all of you used to find teacher friends at your school and beyond? Please share your ideas in the comments!