To Socialize or not to Socialize?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Moogeeg, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 1, 2015

    Hello, all! This is my second year teaching, and I have switched districts. I teach an elective class and only have one other person in my department. This week has been our first PD week, and I have talked with several people, who have been kind and might be friends over time.

    My new classroom is located in a bit of an isolated area in the school, and I think that it may be an advantage, but I'm not sure. I would really like to work on and improve my teaching this year, and am strongly considering limiting my socializing throughout the building during the day (in my first district, I had a few close friends, and would have to be careful about wasting too much time talking with others) in order to utilize as much of my lunch and planning time as possible to plan and organize. I also have a lot going on in my home life this year, and would like to get as much done during the day as possible in order to leave a bit sooner. I know that many teachers find a balance between the two, but I tend to get distracted and waste time.

    I am requesting your honest feedback. If I were to keep more to myself, would I be shooting myself in the foot? Has anyone tried to minimize socializing and found that it was harmful? On the flip side, does anyone largely keep to themselves and find that it helps with efficacy?

    Thank you all for your input.


     
  2.  
  3. greendream

    greendream Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Messages:
    597
    Likes Received:
    127

    Sep 1, 2015

    Yes, I made that mistake. For some reason, at the time I came out of college, a common piece of advice was "Stay out of the teachers' lounge!" I guess it was designed to keep new teachers away from bitter, jaded veterans, but it was the worst piece of advice I could have received in my young career. Thankfully, it only took me a few months to realize that it was better to have colleagues I could share with and learn from. :2cents:
     
  4. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 1, 2015

    I too have heard this advice, but also heard the opposite and made sure to eat in the lounge at my previous school as well.

    I guess that is part of my problem- I am still not yet sure about the culture of my new school, and am nervous about getting too close with the wrong people or experiencing a lot of negativity that will change my view of the school.

     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    4,226
    Likes Received:
    1,163

    Sep 1, 2015

    Here's what I used to do as a classroom teacher:

    I'd eat lunch in my classroom. While I was eating, I'd work (grade papers, work on lesson planning, prepare materials for art lessons/science experiments, etc). Once I was done with what I needed to accomplish, I'd spend the last 10-15 minutes of my lunch in the teachers' lounge. I'd relax, drink a soda, and enjoy the company of my colleagues.

    I was one of those people who left at my contracted time each day. I was highly protective of my planning time and was extremely productive in order to be able to head out every day at the same time.
     
  6. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 1, 2015

    Thank you. It sounds like you really found something that worked for you. I may try this as well!
     
  7. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Likes Received:
    143

    Sep 1, 2015

    socialize? how does one go about doing that? and I am not being facetious either. I work in a small school and we are on modified block schedule. i get a planning period every other day. I am unaware of who else has one during my period. we are required to be in the halls before 1st block and immediately after the bell rings between classes. I have a 25 minute lunch period that I share with no other teacher on my floor (although that has not been the case in previous years). Granted, I am in a very small school as noted above but, at most , my conversations with other adults are nothing beyond small pleasantries. I do stay after the last bell for grading/planning but no one else does. Due to scheduling issues, I really don't have meaningful conversation with another adult until I arrive home. mind you, this is not a complaint...just an observation from someone who worked elsewhere befor becoming a teacher.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,227
    Likes Received:
    1,579

    Sep 1, 2015

    I'd put family first in your situation. There are other ways to socialize.
     
  9. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    146

    Sep 2, 2015

    We are a small school. I do find it a little strange when someone just keeps to himself or herself. It doesn't happen very often. We are a small town and really a bit like a big family. I'm running my first 5k and I've loved having the support of the runners on our staff. I'll chat during my prep period sometimes and obviously at lunch. I just need that break. I'd get a feel for the climate at your school.
     
  10. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,922
    Likes Received:
    145

    Sep 2, 2015

    I have worked at this small school for 30 years. The constant has been we are a family. We all wear more hats than just the teacher one. Interaction and cooperation is a must. I talk to the teachers about their kids all the time as i have them all. I let them know who is doing well, especially the ones that need encouragement and also the ones that are causing problems (they always know those). School lends itself to human interaction and social skills. It is part of our job and not to do it personally in the setting seems at odds with part of our mission.
     
  11. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,309
    Likes Received:
    788

    Sep 2, 2015

    I've found both to be important, planning time and socializing time. My previous school actually required teachers to eat lunch together and that was one of the purposes of hiring a paraprofessional to monitor lunches. We also would have some time of socializing at teacher meetings and conferences. During planning, I would find myself talking (about non-educational issues) with the teachers next door or people in the office when I'd check my mailbox.

    But that does cut into planning time, and I always figured planning time was the top priority; if I'd fall behind in it, then that would overload my needs the next day. I agree with Backroads, too, that family time is the most important priority.
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Sep 2, 2015

    I have always allowed myself to have lunch in the teacher's lounge for socializing. My planning time was my own when I put my nose to the grindstone and planned and got things done. No socializing during planning periods. That seemed to be the general consensus among 99% of the teachers on staff. Being an elective teacher with an isolated classroom, that lunch time will be an invaluable break to you.
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    3,227
    Likes Received:
    1,579

    Sep 2, 2015

    I'm actually rather antisocial during lunch! My last school, I ate in the teacher's lounge. But... at that school, the teachers' lounge was bigger and the staff was smaller. Now I'm at a big school with a tiny teacher's lounge. Some eat there, many just eat in the classroom. Still, I think we're a very social faculty. We do respect each other's planning time, but wow, can we start conversations in the hall, the copier, etc. We even have regular dinners and yoga classes.
     
  14. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 2, 2015

    Thanks to all! It sounds like the general consensus is that planning time should be held dear, but lunch time is a great time to get out. I appreciate it so much.
     
  15. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    5,433
    Likes Received:
    950

    Sep 4, 2015

    If I don't have some down time during the school day, I'll be stir crazy by the end of the day. We only have 20 minutes for lunch, so really eating in the cafeteria is the best choice. Otherwise, I'd not have time to do anything. That gives me time to talk to others in the cafeteria.

    We don't have a lounge, but we do have team common planning time. Everyone in my grade level is planning at the same time (6 teachers). Usually we work, not socialize. Sometimes we will stop in to talk.

    After school is the main talk time. People who don't want to be bothered close their doors. We have about 20 minutes between the time the kids leave and teachers can leave.

    I'm friends with several coworkers outside of school. Two of us are going out to dinner tonight after work. We don't see each other much during the school day, so we like to catch up.

    I live by myself, so I don't even see anyone once I leave work on a typical day.
     
  16. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2010
    Messages:
    1,553
    Likes Received:
    730

    Sep 4, 2015

    I've been at a small school with a tight-knit teacher's lounge culture, and another with an extremely "cliquey" lunch scene (yuck!). The school I am at now is huge (80+ teachers) and spread out, so no one really uses the staff lounge. Everyone just kind of does their own thing. I use the time in my room to decompress, check email, etc. I sometimes wish we were more social, but the truth is I need that alone time! Every school has its own culture and it can take time to figure it out when you're new.
     
  17. shoreline02

    shoreline02 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    632
    Likes Received:
    116

    Sep 4, 2015

    Just started working in a new school teaching 4th grade. We all have lunch at the same time and no one eats in the teacher's lounge.
     
  18. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,849
    Likes Received:
    716

    Sep 5, 2015

    It can be harmful. I've worked in 3 schools and socializing/being "friends" with the staff has been seen as highly important in all 3. My first school was tiny and I had relocated to a very small, isolated town to work there, so I went out of my way to be social since school was really the only opportunity I had to make friends. I had no problems there. My admin thought highly of me and I think part of that was due to other teachers saying they liked me. In evaluation meetings my admin would talk positively about how I fit in with the staff.

    For my next job, I relocated to a large city and made a lot of friends outside of work right away, so I didn't see a need to try and be as "buddy buddy" with people at work. I also had an absolutely horrible admin and the environment was extremely hostile. Luckily my team was awesome and I was very close to them, but I didn't trust anyone outside of my team and tried to just keep my head down and do my job. My lack of socializing with people outside of my team was seen as extremely negative and I got marked down on my evaluation for it. In the spring my P threatened to non-renew me because of it. She said my instruction was really strong and she had no concerns there, but didn't feel that I fit in with the rest of my building and I didn't seem to be putting any effort into changing that (I was polite to everyone, always said hi in the hallway, certainly wasn't causing/getting involved in fights or drama...just keeping to myself). I was teaching 3rd grade gen ed at the time and my class had the highest state test scores in the district, despite being the "low class" in our tracking system, but "fitting in" was seen as more important! I was leaving anyway, so this didn't hurt me, but shows how important some people think this is!

    When I got my current job I made sure to be really social due to the problems I'd had at the previous job. Honestly, a lot of times I'd rather be getting my work done than chatting, but it's almost like it's part of the job! My current P often brags about how our staff is "like a family" and how close we are.
     
  19. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 6, 2015

    Thanks for the detailed response! I am sorry that it led to you being marked down on your evaluation- that is awful. I am glad that you are now working in better conditions.
     
  20. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    102

    Sep 6, 2015

    I think you need both. Work cannot only be that...work. Everyone needs a friend and adult conversation during the day. Our copy machine is in the lounge. I try to make copies during lunch...plus fill the copy machine well. Then I can socialize and still get some work needs met.
     
  21. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    9

    Sep 7, 2015

    This is an interesting question and it's been really helpful to me to read everyone's replies. This subject has been on my mind for a long time.
    I tend to be a bit of a loner in general--I have a few close friends and a husband and family and I am happiest alone or with just a few people. Teaching is very social in general, so I have found my alone time really important for me to decompress and recharge. Without it I don't think I would be able to do my job as well. However, I have worried that my tendency to enjoy a bit of isolation would appear rude. I will say I am extremely friendly and I do enjoy chatting with co-workers a lot. No one would say I am anti-social (at least I don't think), but sometimes I think it would help me if I was tighter with some of the staff.
    What I've noticed, though, is that there is a fairly large clique of women my age who like to go out to bars and things like that and they can get kind of catty and talk about other teachers. I don't like that. Therefore, I have a few people that I really enjoy talking with at work but other than two or three people, I don't feel super close to many of the other women my age. I am trying to get out of my room more this year, but I don't feel a huge need to create close friends because I don't want to get sucked into any negative drama where people talk about each other. It makes me less comfortable trusting some of my co-workers to be real friends.
     
  22. Moogeeg

    Moogeeg Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    2

    Sep 7, 2015

    Exactly. I am nervous about making friends with the wrong people that might hurt relationships with other staff members, even if I personally have done nothing wrong. Sometimes just an association with a group that is catty or gossipy is harmful.
     
  23. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Messages:
    5,822
    Likes Received:
    137

    Sep 7, 2015

    I've always been in a different boat from most. I've been the RSP teacher & the SLP before (not at the same time), so as you know, there's only ONE type of that teacher at any given school, so my position automatically isolates me because I have no commonality with anyone else on campus plus my room is also isolated & in a different area on campus.

    On top of that, I'm an only child & never had but 1 or 2 pals at a time in my life (not close, but more than just acquaintances), so I guess I'm a HUGE loner in general. Sure, making a friend or two at work is nice, but I don't set out to do it nor need it.

    With the positions I've held, I know others of the same position choose to stay out of the lounge because a lot of teachers think we don't need a rest as well & take that time to talk about how their student John is not reading as well at the rest or delayed at this or that.

    I was never one to eat in the lounge with the rest, but I know it's nice & can be helpful & all & I've even told myself to do it when I began at a new school, but I just never really did it. I go to work, do my job & that's it & if I happen to make a friend along the way, then great.

    With me personally, I wouldn't say not socializing has been a deficit because it's not like there's anything for me to be left out of by other teachers. Again, I'm the ONLY type of person who does the job I do on campus.

    If you don't care much about making friends, don't worry too much about it. You know you have a goal in mind (getting work done, etc.) so you know your priorities of what you have to do & if that means cutting way down on the chit chat, then do so.
     
  24. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,307
    Likes Received:
    950

    Sep 7, 2015

    If I socialize it's before the students arrive in the morning. During the day I really have no time to go into the lounge unless I have to make a copy or use the rest room. Sometimes I will chat with whoever is in there but I don't do it on a regular basis at the same time each day so there's always different people in there. I make it a point to be friendly and at least say hello to whoever I see in the lounge. I have to admit it's nice when I have 5 minutes to sit and have a cup of coffee and chat with others but usually I don't have the time.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. ally06,
  2. WongHF,
  3. vickilyn,
  4. sevenplus,
  5. agdamity,
  6. RainStorm
Total: 282 (members: 10, guests: 250, robots: 22)
test