New Teachers Lounge Enhances Staff Morale

Teachers+eat+lunch+in+the+new+high+school++teachers+lounge.

Martin Villegas

Teachers eat lunch in the new high school teachers lounge.

Martin Villegas and Juana Wolff

The new high school teachers lounge has opened as part of the school’s improvement program has lifted the overall morale and strengthened the bonds between staff members and teachers. 

The new facility features a modern open environment with more lunch seating, larger kitchen and a small lounge area where teachers can relax and talk. According to staff, the new lounge has improved collegiality as more teachers visit the new lunch room. 

“It’s beautiful. It’s bright, you get a lot of light, and I’ll tell you something interesting. Last year, the staff lounge was kind of small,” Paul Navarra, High School Vice Principal, said.

The new space can accommodate up to 37 people eating comfortably at the same time. Staff has described that the new space provides opportunity to connect closely with each other. 

“This year I’ve seen so many staff members here eating, talking, hanging out, kind of how they call it in the business world, like ‘the talk around the cooler’ when people just informally connect with each other,” Navarra said.

The new space was designed to generate comfort, where educators can complete their work and, at the same time, relax around their community. There is a coworking space with four interactive chairs that move in circles, with a curved sofa, and a place where a TV will be installed in the future. 

“I was in middle school last year, so I think especially compared to what’s available in middle school, it provides a really nice space for teachers to interact with each other outside of our classrooms,” Blair Dawkins, HS Biology Teacher, said.

Staff reactions have been positive allowing stronger bonds to be built through social interactions in spaces such as the cozy sofa at the entrance, or the outside space looking to the forest and cafeteria. 

 “We don’t see everyone because maybe they work on a different floor or they work somewhere where I never see them. So to walk into the lounge and see someone for the first time all week is nice,” Dawkins said.

The new room also offers large tables, accessible coffeemakers, an oven, cabinets, lockers, and private bathrooms. The construction of these rooms is an acknowledgement for all hard work teachers do every day to make the school’s community a place of growth. 

 “You spend a lot of time there and you want to feel like you’re respected and valued for what you bring to the organization. So when you walk into the space, it’s obvious that the school respects and values the teachers,” Navarra said.

According to isglobal.org, visual access to natural green space can reduce stress and restore the ability to pay attention and concentrate. 

“I think it’s had a tremendous impact, a positive impact on the staff morale,” Navarra said.