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staff room behaviour

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by reena2706, Jun 7, 2012.

  1. Hello
    I work in a secondary school and recently we were discussing about having tea and coffee. A colleague of mine says that the school should make provision for tea and coffee and that the non teaching staff (attendants?) should be making coffee./ tea and keep it ready for us. She even mentioned that it would be great if we could carry our coffee/tea with us to class. And I just blurted: that would be too much! I just wanted to know if such practice is carried out? For me, it doesn't sound professional! Just wanted to see what other teachers think!
  2. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    I find it not only unprofessional but hypocritical to eat or drink in a lesson while expecting pupils not to.
    Steg86, steely1, travelwings and 3 others like this.
  3. From a primary school perspective. 1. Why should the school provide tea and coffee? 2. Teaching Assistants and other non-teaching staff have their own roles which should not include making tea and coffee for teaching staff. I don't think tea/coffee in the classroom is good practice although saying that I have, on occasion, taken it in in a sealed travel cup. I would have no problem with water though.
  4. 576

    576 Established commenter

    In my first school tea & coffee was served at breaktime, and you either paid per cup or paid for the whole term up front.
    In my second school free tea and coffee and biscuits was served at breaktime but it was stressed that staff should never have hot drinks in the class when teaching - or when on duty as there was a potential of accidentally scalding a child.
    In my present school. Nothing.
    NB : All were secondary schools with 100+ staff so would be very crowded if people tried to make their own drinks at the same time.
  5. oogiemac

    oogiemac New commenter

    In my current school (one form entry primary school) whichever teacher gets into the staffroom first fills up some cups with tea and coffee using a pre-heated boiler (which most schools seem to have these days). Staff then come and add their own milk and sugar. Nobody has a problem with it.
    However, I have been in a school where the teachers all clubbed together (via a monthly payment) to pay a member of the kitchen staff to come in 15 minutes early and sort the brews out. It didn't cost much, worked pretty smoothly and, if I remember rightly, the kitchen staff member was the one who come up with the idea.
    I wouldn't like to see any TA time wasted on making hot drinks though. For me, TAs are there purely to support the children's learning.
    I'd like to hear more opinions on drinks in the classroom though. I am on the fence.
    theluckycat likes this.
  6. Thank you so much everyone! Personally, i allow students to drink water in class, but no eating! (not even chewing gum)
    i think as a teacher, i have to set the right example and that i have to practice what i preach/teach. i see it more as this: i can make my own coffee/tea at home, then why not here? but my colleague has been going on and on about it, and I wanted to see what other teachers around the world have to say. I have recently started teaching (last yr) so i am still learning things! :)
    JosieWhitehead likes this.
  7. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I've worked in three different schools in the last three years and every single one has had children who think their civil rights are being compromised if you ask them to put a drink away!
    Given my way, I'd want drinks banned from the classroom for teachers and pupils. I do remember our primary school teacher bringing in a school dinner of sausage, beans and chips and eating it after lunch one day!
    I sometimes think teaching must have been a really easy job once!
  8. I teach in a 3 form entry primary school with lots of staff. Generally whoever gets in the staffroom first makes the drinks for whoever is in my class - I have 2 or 3 TAs- sometimes I make 4 cups sometimes mine is made for me!! We pay termly and just help ourselves -those who want different options, bring in for themselves.
    On the subject of water, our children are encouraged to bring in bottles of water which they have on their tables and can sip whenever - the understanding is that this is not to excess - to prevent frequent toilet trips - and that the TAs can not be expected to refill these bottles automatically but will try to do so when they have a moment! Unfortunately , I was disciplined by the HT for asking my TA - in one of those quiet moments - to fetch me a glass of water as it was very hot , I had missed my break ( playground duty) and my lunch - sorting out behaviour problems - and on getting up from sitting with a group had felt faint!!
    So it is ok for the kids to have water, but not the staff , it would appear - the TA concerned only had to go to the end of the corridor to a drinking water sink - and also refilled a child's bottle whilst there!! Beggars belief, doesn't it?!
  9. It never occured to me as a problem. I have a hot drink in almost every lesson (in an insulated mug), as do a lot of the staff in school. There is no reason why you can't drink in lessons in my opinion, especially as your voice is a key tool for your job and I suffer with a sore throat at particular times of year if I don't drink a lot.
    MPegg16, Bentley89, bevdex and 8 others like this.
  10. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Do none of your schools believe that happy staff are more effective staff?

    MPegg16, Bentley89, bevdex and 10 others like this.
  11. In the school I'm at now there's no kitty and everyone has their own tea, coffee and milk -but we're fine about lending and borrowing. In the past I've seen all sorts but only seen it made for people when I've visited Secondary. Sometimes though there's been a pot of tea and coffee to pour from.
    When I was at primary school the Secretary would come around the 4 classes with tea/coffee for the teachers. I remember the Depute was poor at remembering to return the cups and they were always all around the class -wherever she'd finished it- so the Secretary appointed a monitor to do it.
    I always have a bottle to sip from in the classroom as I get sore throats/headaches. I allow the children to have theirs too though when reasonable.
    MPegg16 and gold19951 like this.
  12. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Because almost any other employer intending to recruit and retain professionals in jobs which require someone with a graduate level qualification (and additional training) provides free tea & coffee.

    (Or, to put is another way, not providing free tea & coffee sends out a clear signal to the professional workforce precisely how much they are valued and precisely where the priorities of the organisation lie - essentially in saving a few quid a week and not caring a jot about the comfort and needs of the employees.)

    Absolutely. No way should others have to do this, but in a staff room with perhaps several hundred staff all taking breaks at the same time, those several hundred can't all boil their own kettles or they'll bring down the local sub-station. Paying the contract caterer a tad more for them to send in a couple of staff wouldn't be the end of the world though.

    It depends on the layout of the classroom - I agree, hot drinks don't really have a place in most primary classrooms, but it's not generally an issue in secondary.
    steely1 and gold19951 like this.
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Like most people, I've seen a mixture of systems. At one school, there wa a kitchen area in the corner of the staffroom, and a member of canteen staff was there before school brewing proper (not instant) coffee, and selling muffins, etc. People paid a fair price for it - less than coffee shops, but more than cost price. That school also had a book to pre-order lunch, also brought to the staffroom.
    gold19951 likes this.
  14. Schools are like any other work place and are required to satisfy regulations regarding the provision of facilities to boil water for drinks and warm food brought in by employees. there should also be safe storeage for perishable food. Private electrical equipment needs checking along with every other item on the premisis. Provision of free beverage and food is also a matter for HMRC. (as if free tea is a huge cost to the government in lost PAYE)
    Back at the end of the 1980's I left teaching for the first time to work for a well known Children's Book publisher - the one with the bear carrying a candle for those in Primary. Sebastion had a policy that everyone in the publishing house would have free access to tea, coffee, fruit juice and so on. Also he employed a quality catering team to provide a fantastic lunch everyday - this was free for all - from the cleaner through to the Board of Directors. It was also his policy that every visitor to the offices could enjoy the same spread. He never took clients or authors/illustrators to swanky restaurants. The food was that good. By so doing he avoided his employees having to declare this great benefit on their tax returns. It was a huge shock to go from paying for a cup of weak tea gulped down in a rushed 15 minute breaktime one week to enjoying the high life the next. These days I make a flask for me and my tourists and hope in the winter its not frozen solid by the time we get to drink it. My ''classroom' can reach 40 below.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    As the example of the free meals in your publishing job illustrates, it is not a matter for HMRC because there is no tax implication! An employer can provide free (or subsidised) drinks and meals without the employee being liable to tax on them. It is a statutory exemption. There a couple of rules the employer has to follow to make sure it isn't a taxable benefit, the main one being that the free drinks or meals must be available on the same basis to all employees at that workplace. There would be a tax implication if eg teachers got free tea and coffee but support staff had to pay.
    gold19951 likes this.

  16. Thanks for pointing this out. My rambling post went a bit beyond the point I was trying to make. Your post is much clearer. Do any teachers declare the fantastic benefit of free meals with their dinner duty - or am I so much out of touch that this does not happen anymore?
  17. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    The only time I worked in a school where tea and coffee was free was on my PGCE. It was a large secondary and there was a kitchen off the staffroom with a hatch. School kitchen staff came up and made tea and coffee at breaktime and most staff then sat in the staffroom and chatted. They did the same for lunchtime as well. Was fabulous and the most sociable secondary school staffroom I ever worked in. An outstanding school in that way as well as exam results.

    Most schools I've worked in had tea, coffee and milk available in the staffroom and people help themselves as and when. Generally free. All of secondary, middle and primary.
    My current school has a flat rate for the half term and you pay and have as much as you like, or you don't pay and bring your own.

    I don't normally like to see mugs in classrooms, but if I've had no break or lunch and so grab a tea and take back after lunch I generally apologise to my class for the lack of manners and explain why. If they miss their lunch for medical appointments or some other reason I let them eat and drink in the classroom in the afternoon, so they have never seen it as a problem.
  18. seza-lou

    seza-lou New commenter

    My school provides tea, coffee and even hot chocolate free of charge! It is great and everyone always takes advantage of this.

    On the subjectbof ta's getting drinks, both myself and my ta are always getting drinks for each other, whoever is free at the time will quite often pop down and quickly get something. Works for us!
    bevdex and gold19951 like this.
  19. lardylady

    lardylady Star commenter

    For the past year, tea and coffee have been provided free of charge.We are a one form entry primary, so there aren't hundreds of staff jostling to use the boiler. Also, KS1 and KS2 have different breaktimes, so there's usually a maximum of 5 people in the staffroom at any one time during morning break.
    We are allowed to take hot drinks into class, but they must be in a sealed mug. I remember when I was at primary in the 70s, having the job of fetching a scalding mug of coffee for the teacher on playground duty. No such thing as health and safety in those days!
    gold19951 likes this.
  20. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    completely agree with this - I have worked in many schools, some have had machines selling tea etc. at very cheap rates, some schools have had to pay subs... current school it has been free since the beginning of Sept, making very happy staff until we run out of milk...
    IDunno likes this.

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