Recently renovated faculty room in disuse

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Photo Credit: Patricia Whyte

The interior design classes refurnished the faculty room three years ago as a part of their final project. “I think there’s something to be said for hands-on experience, and my students certainly got a lot more out of it,” Rusin said.

by Patricia Whyte, Staff Writer

Open jars of food in the cabinets, crusty peanut butter left on the counters, expired, and moldy food left in the fridge. The faculty room is intended to be used as a retreat for teachers from their workspace, but lately the room has been left in poor condition.

Three years ago, the interior design classes, taught by Nicole Rusin, redid this room by giving the walls a new paint job and buying new furniture for the lounge area.  

“We essentially tried to give it a clean up, so it wasn’t a total gut renovation,” Rusin said. The classes surveyed all of the teachers to create a space that teachers would use and enjoy. The classes soon discovered that the room was more often used by middle school faculty than high school teachers.

“We received more of a response from middle school teachers than we did from high school teachers,” Rusin said. “It’s mostly middle school teachers, teachers aides, and substitute teachers in there.”

Because of the condition that the faculty room has been kept in lately, an email was sent out to the entire high school faculty describing the state of the room and advising teachers to “keep it clean for everyone.”

“I was sort of frightened to go up there after I received the email,” Rusin said.

Many high school teachers don’t often use the space because they have their own department offices to do individual work. They also feel it’s out of the way.

As a high school english teacher, Patricia Mahoney infrequently uses the room.

“It’s very far from where I teach, from my office and my classes. Unless you’re going to guidance, then there’s really no reason to go there,” Mahoney said.

Megan Nordman, a high school math teacher, rarely finds herself in the faculty room. “I definitely don’t socialize in there because I’m always in a rush,” Nordman said. “However, I think it’s a nice room to have because it’s in a nice location. It’s a comfortable setting.”

Many middle school teachers, teachers aides and substitutes use the room to eat lunch in a quiet place. “When I was a student teacher here, I used that space a lot because I didn’t have my own space,” Rusin said. Some teachers who have a longer commute use the room to eat breakfast.

One middle school teacher, who asked to not be named, commented that the room is primarily used by teacher’s aides.

“Teachers get away from the students and everything by using their classes, and we don’t have classrooms. So it’s nice to be able to have a quiet lunch period,” she said. She and her colleges use the room for individual work and during their lunch period every day.

The room is also popular amongst middle school teachers because it has a Scantron machine.

“A couple of teachers come in here intermittently during lunch from the middle school, and they’re doing their papers, this is where they come to do their grading,” another middle school teacher said. “We enjoy it, we like having it here.”

Those who frequently use the room have taken notice of the condition the room has been kept in lately. One teacher commented that they often have to clean messes themselves. However, small changes have been made to straighten up the room.

“It is cleaner than it was,” one teacher said. “They cleaned out all of the shelves.”

While many middle school teachers enjoy the space, the faculty room remains scarcely utilized by high school teachers.

“I usually look for spaces that have people that I feel collegial with, and I don’t know anybody that uses that during the high school lunchtime,” Rusin said.