It's always interesting to walk into a school you are unfamiliar with. There are instant impressions made about the culture of the school. Like many cultural centres, there are many artifacts that tell us how to behave?; What is valued?; How people work, act, and use the space? All of these 'things' provide great insight into the teaching and learning in the school.
I've noticed none may be more telling than the staff room. I find as soon as I enter this secret world I am instantly attuned to the collaborative culture of the school. There are those rooms where you are welcomed, those where you are the invisible person, those where you want to join the party, and those where there the only party happened way back in 1957. It's always a surprise.
Up until today I have felt like staff rooms are for the most part 'closed'; a thing of the past, an ancient relic of systems, and structures past. I think these are spaces that could better be used, modified or overhauled for better purposes. Maybe another learning space for students or teachers?
However, I walked into a staffroom today at lunch and found myself wanting to be part of the party. A great number of staff were together, eating lunch, sharing stories, and breaking bread together. I know this could be a one off, but I was actually warned about this prior to going in there; that this happens daily. I was instantly struck by the culture that existed and wondered how did they get here?
I don't have an answer to this, and I am sure I could have simply posed the question to the group. I just wonder, what did they do to 'open' the staffroom again?