Knock Knock!

I recently chanced across this thread

which began with the following post:

“I have been teaching for thirty years and all Headteachers I have worked for have all made some effort to do a token knock before entering the staffroom. We have a new Head however and she barges in when ever she likes sometimes two or three times during a lunchtime. Am I right in thinking it is ‘our’ room and she has to be invited?”

Like the writer I started teaching a little more than 30 years ago when it was expected that the headteacher would only enter the staffroom when ‘invited’ by the deputy head of senior teacher, or at least knock when entering to announce his presence. What interested me though was the response in the other comments, which greeted the original post with some disbelief – e.g. ‘Is this a joke?’, seemingly completely unaware of the customs of not-so-long ago. It occurred to me that a generation of teachers who in the main attended ‘traditional’ grammar schools in the 1960s are now in the process of retiring, making way for a new generation taught in the ‘modern’ comprehensives of the 1970s in which the headteacher is no longer seen as an isolated, almost god-like entity whose manifestation needed to be announced, but as ‘part of the team’.

Oh well, at least something has changed then.

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One comment on “Knock Knock!

  1. It’s a difference between the old and new order of things. Some years ago, if I was off to see the bank manager I would have worn a jacket and tie. But for the last 10-15 years though, the approach allowed has been much more casual, much in the same way as we the public or users of their services are not the insignificant part of the process. More that we are the respected part of why these people are there in the first place.

    For an HT to have to knock on a staffroom signifies the old formal traditions. It may be just a polite policy to forewarn the staff to stop mouthing-off for a moment just as they might do if a pupil were to knock, but surely, these days an HT should be part of the team rather than someone to be wary of. Good for the school that does have an HT that feels part of the team enough to stroll in and be part of the moaning relaxation and I suggest the staff that cannot handle it should stop feeling like the HT is a superior being or something to be afraid of, after all, HT’s are human too just as is the bank manager, the stuffy tailor on Savile Row or even the Queen. Who do you want to be tomorrow and how do you want to be treated?

    The real worrying question though is: How long will it be before the teachers become subservient to the pupils? Will there be a time when the pupils can stroll into the staffroom and demand their human-rights and a cessation of this cordoned-off area of sanctuary and mutual consolation? The teacher, after all, is there to serve the pupil in this politically correct world and therefore a ‘them’ and ‘us’ situation might not be in the best interests of development!

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