I’ve taught in a lot of schools, and most of them have the same basic names for different parts of the building, such as classroom, cafeteria, and main office. These names have been around forever, before teachers like you and I even entered the profession. So what would it would be like if the teachers of today could name the parts of our schools? Here are 13 alternate names that make much more sense:
Supply Closet = The Junk Yard
How many times have you gone to the supply closet looking for something you needed for your room and couldn’t even find anything remotely resembling a reasonable replacement? I have found that this room is usually visited by first-year teachers who don’t know any better. And all they see in there are things they’ll never, ever, need, like five-pronged chalk-holders, VCR tapes about stranger danger, and boxes of Windows on Science materials from the early 1990s.
Cafeteria = The Scream Zone
There are days when the local Chuck E. Cheese is quieter than our cafeteria. The good thing from the students’ perspective is that they finally get to talk to their friends about something other than school in their “normal” voices. Unfortunately, when those normal-volume voices combine, it sounds a bit like a crowd of young kids screaming at a Jonas Brothers concert.
Principal’s Office = The Pokey
Despite being the control center for the school’s operations, the principal’s office is also where naughty kids are often sent for questioning. And where else does that happen? Police headquarters. Instead of threatening to send a kid to the principal we could just say, “Please stop the misbehavior, or I will send you to the pokey in a paddy wagon.”
Main Office = Grand Central Station
Usually located at the front of the building, the main office is where everything happens. It’s where you’ll likely run into the UPS driver, someone’s grandma, the security officer, student messengers, teachers, secretaries, custodians, angry parents, and basically anyone who lives within a ten-mile radius. Enter this room with caution, or you may just run into someone—literally.
Bathroom = The Germ Factory
I’ve been in countless student bathrooms and can tell you that, despite the hard work of our custodians, within minutes after the start of the school day, restrooms can become breeding grounds for the nastiest germs in the building. And not all of those nasty things are in the toilet. I’m still amazed at the concept of the bathroom pass, which I have nicknamed the germ stick, and which I never have my students use under any circumstances because you never know where that thing has been in the first place. (But I have some good guesses.)
Faculty Room = The Sanctuary
It’s where teachers can actually talk to other adults and not use their teacher voices. Not to name any names, but it’s also where I’ve heard more than a few expletives fly. The worst part about The Sanctuary is that eventually you’ll be forced to leave.
Classroom = The Cave
You know, it’s like a man cave, or a she shed. It’s where we spend most of our time during the day and where we feel most comfortable. We hang decorations and poster our walls to make it like another home for us and our kids. And wouldn’t it be fun for the principal to announce after a faculty meeting, “Okay, everyone, back to your caves”?
Copy Room = The Aggravation Station
There is no other place in a school building that has given me more grief than the copy room. After all these years, you would think that someone would have invented a fool-proof, error-free copy machine for the mechanically un-inclined, like myself, that doesn’t jam, run out of toner, or shut off unexpectedly. The worst part is I can’t send it to the pokey or give it a detention. (And kicking it doesn’t help, either. I tried.)
Art Room = The Glitter Den
Science says that it’s okay for kids to get messy. The art room’s a great place for them to make a mess and be creative while learning.
Playground = The Injury Center
Are you looking for injuries? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Unless your students are hanging from light fixtures in your classroom, this is where most school-related injuries occur. It might have something to do with kids finally having the opportunity to legally run and play at full speed. It might also have something to do with the careless abandon of youth. In any case, I sometimes keep my fingers crossed that we get there and back without a boo-boo.
Hallway = The Expressway
If you teach in a school with over a thousand students, like I did nearly ten years ago, you can understand the anxiety of trying to lead your students through the building to another room while navigating through hallways and around slow-moving mobs of children who have the same goal in mind, but with different destinations. At times it was like the being stuck in traffic on the Garden State Parkway, and being on time was imperative. Then there are the speeders, like the sixth grader who escaped from the resource room and was being pulled over/chased down by a very fit young teacher, both of whom nearly knocked me over as they whizzed by me in quick succession.
Library = The Knowledge Museum
As an author and lover of books of all kinds (I have around 700 of them for my classroom), it saddens me to nickname a room with so much potential after a type of place that some might find outdated and boring. But when my middle school class recently took a tour of our local high school, the librarian seemed so happy to finally see other humans that she appeared to be desperate for prospective students to consider visiting when and if they chose to attend. “We don’t get a lot of traffic, to be honest,” she said. “There are a few frequent flyers, though, and we’d love for you to be one.”
Front Doors = The Portals to Another World
At the end of the day, there is thankfully a way out so we can be with our loved ones and de-stress from the day that’s behind us.
Did we miss any alternate names for rooms in your school? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, rooms we wish our school had.