Why Teachers Talk Shop…A Lot

Why Teachers Talk Shop…A Lot

For years I couldn’t figure it out.

I would go to gatherings with my wife’s co-workers and notice something very odd.

It wasn’t the same when I got together with my teaching co-workers.

Every time we teachers got together outside of school, we would talk shop.

We talked about the kids.

We’d complain about the administration.

We’d exchange ideas on teaching the new curriculum.

We’d debate the latest fads…

And gossip about who was getting out of classroom teaching to climb the administrative ladder.

With my wife’s co-workers, there was very little shop talk.

They all talked about everyday stuff.

Like the new restaurants opening up,

or the new play

or the latest films they were going to see.

Every day, normal stuff.

Finally, at one of my wife’s gatherings, one of her colleagues explained to me why teachers talked shop when they got together and why his friends and co-workers


He said: “Teachers are in boxes…separate containers. Sometimes you’re only connected by a parking lot. My work environment is an open office. We’re always talking

while we’re working, or at the coffee pot, on our breaks, and during lunch”

I thought about it.

He was right.

I’m in a box all day with kids.

The problem I see is how many opportunities do we have to share and learn from one another? And when do we get those opportunities?

Is it before School?

Nope. Yard duty. Answering calls from parents. (Before every phone call, I’d ask myself “What did I do this time”?) Helping students before class. Setting up class

lessons and material.

At Recess time?

Nope. Too busy getting set up for the next class, grabbing a cup of coffee or taking that much needed washroom break!

During Yard Duty?

Nope. Due to district, school and insurance regulations, I can’t socialize with other teachers. I have to watch the kids.

During Lunch Time?

Nope. See before school recess times above. There are times when I don’t want to go near the staff room!

After school?

Nope. Too busy doing extra-curricular activities, coaching, homework club, setting up lessons for next day, photocopying, phone calls etc.

During staff meetings?

Don’t even get me started on this. Most times they’re a colossal waste of time.

Outside of School?

Are you kidding? I just want to go home, have a glass of wine, watch TV and collapse!

Taking courses?

For $500 or more for a course, it better be worth it. Most aren’t. Too much theory. Too much filler. And there are no refunds.


$1,000 or more. Huge time commitment. Again, no guarantees.

And once you start having your own children, your opportunities and time to take professional development courses dwindle even more.

You’ve got no time, but you still want to keep up.

You still want to learn new stuff.

You still want to be a better teacher than you were the year before.

One of the best solutions I’ve used to learn more tips and strategies without taking up a lot of my time (and money) can be found here:


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