Saturday, 19 September 2009

The little things...

A satellite working office of the IoD
I often work from my home, but when that is not practical (due to electricians, plumbers or young children!), and I don't have to travel, I use a local satellite office of of the Institute of Directors to work and have meetings in. (The reason I am a member is specifically of the ability to use their offices, rather than a desire to be a member of a particular club!).
It really is a great working atmosphere, with a number of tables to hot desk at, soft seating for more informal meetings and others to relax in. I always get loads done when based there and it is used a lot by people to work alone, work collaboratively, hold meetings, do interviews and so on. I am always surprised about just how busy it is.
One of the reasons is the level of provision, which supports a concentrated working atmosphere. Obviously it is fully wireless, but supported by a myriad of floor boxes providing power and hard wire internet access if needed. The smaller touches that make all the difference include coffee etc always being available, phone chargers for every make of phone, newspapers, headphones if you want to listen to the television news channel and not disturb everyone, lots details of available professional development and networking opportunities and so on....
In a meeting there this week, one person noted what a fab professional school staffroom it would make. Too many school staff rooms are simply 'slump places' where people store 'stuff', frequently in carrier bags or battered cardboard boxes. Just last week a teachers was deploring the state of their staff room and it was only the second week of term!
An increasing number of schools seem to be abandoning central dedicated staff rooms. They are frequently, terribly under-utilised spaces, empty for large portions of the day in schools desperate to make full use of spaces everywhere else.
With the increasing numbers and types of staff in schools, and if there is to be a staffroom, maybe a more work focused room similar to the one above would be more practical. They would have to be fully serviced however and equipped as fully as possible to support teachers make their life easier and treat them as the professionals they are, as the one above does for us. It's just a thought.


Anonymous said...

it must be lovely to be out of the real teaching game in england. you are not actually representing teachers. ideally this hot desking is wonderful. unfortunately, we have nothing like this. it's so difficult to carry boxes of books from place to place. i know this is just your personal blog but it is so depressing to read stuff like this by a former teacher. try and put some proper pressure on authorities. or have you forgotten what it's like to teach a full week and be in 4 different rooms in a day.

Gareth Long said...

Thanks for the post. The comments that led to me writing this post were made by a teacher working right now in a very difficult school with no established teaching base.

To answer the comment - I work a huge amount with teachers - I do hope that I have not really forgotten about working in very challenging schools - I did so for over quarter of a century.

As for trying to put pressure on authorities - that is exactly what I spend a lot of time doing - honestly, and many are listening.

Why shouldn't teachers and staff have truely professioanal working environments? Of all the professions, teachers put up with some of the worst professional working environments.

As a head teacher I worked hard to alter that. It just CAN be done - and it is that many don't think about it, many others don't do anything about it and it is not a priority for others!

Teachers are the key resource in schools - lets treat them like that! Believe me I keep trying to drive that message home!

and finally - I do love my job and the opportunities it brings. I have been truly lucky, but even now I still miss being in school full time.

Anonymous said...

My school has developed a space like this for teachers - there was considereable cynicism at the start but now it is viewed as a 'must have' space. Teachers love it and it looks and feels like a professional space.

and this is a school serving a really rough social area, we are not a middle class group inleafy suburbs - just the opposite.

toally agree with the blog comment.