I was very surprised by the number of responses to my post about spending time in the teacher lounge. I found out that I am not the only one that has struggled with this issue. In my years as both a speech therapist and literacy coach, I've worked with teachers and children in seven public elementary schools and at least four parochial schools. Some years, in some schools, I ate lunch in the lounge. Other years I shoved food in my mouth, in my car, on the way to the next school. Every building had its own karma, which extended to the lounge.
I've lived my teaching day in the classrooms of others for the past ten years. In a previous post, I compared coaching to cliff diving. I've spent many hours planning with teachers, problem-solving ways to assist children that puzzle them, and helped them communicate with challenging parents. I've modeled both successful and unsuccessful lessons and avoided behaving like the expert. Listening to and sharing personal stories has been essential in developing trust with co-professionals. In the past, when I ate lunch in the lounge, I was often put on the spot with regard to district issues or ended up with an additional to-do list. Eating lunch in my office, which I share with two wonderful colleagues, gave me a safe place to be myself.