May 14, 2015: F is for Food in the teachers’ lounge.
Teaching causes a lot of stress. For this reason, teachers have a lot of nervous energy which they fuel with an obsession for food. Never in my life have I seen so much food brought to the workplace nor that food disappear so fast as it does in schools. The picture below shows a pretty typical spread:
When the PTA wants to give teachers a “thank you”, they often show their appreciation with a large spread of nibbly food items in the teachers’ lounge or work room. Also, every school has a social committee, and one of the things they sponsor is weekly or monthly food fests! They put out a sign-up sheet and generally teams of staff members will sign up for a particular date. It’s then that team’s responsibility to bring food on that day.
I worked in one school where it seemed teams of teachers were trying to outdo each other. Bagels, doughnuts, veggies and dip, chips and salsa, cookies and brownies plus gallons of orange juice weren’t enough – the next team began bringing home-cooked food – egg casseroles, potato strada, etc. – to please their colleagues. Then another team would make food AT SCHOOL and serve it up fresh and hot! These were hard acts to follow!
I gained almost 30 lbs. while teaching. When I was on the verge of collapse from exhaustion, a brownie, cookie, bagel or other saved item pumped me with instant energy and it was a reward for myself that I could look forward to. Any teacher that wanted food, however, had to get to the lounge as early as possible and pile goodies on a plate to take to their classrooms and save for later. By noon, most, if not all, of the food would be gone!
For two years, my classroom was across the hallway from the lounge. Every time I walked past, I peeked in the window to check for food. Sometimes goodies were brought to the lounge when it wasn’t even treat day. For example, someone had leftover birthday cake, Valentine’s Day candy, or other leftovers they wanted to get out of their house. Bring it to school – it will get consumed for sure! I think those were two of the years that contributed most to my weight gain!
Another occasion for food and beverages was during our after school reading group. The teacher that ran it tried to provide small treats and possibly tea that connected to the book we were discussing in some way.
The next year I was far from the lounge and didn’t even like to go there much, so it was easy to stay away. I had also joined Weight Watchers by that time so I didn’t need the temptations.
My success with losing weight improved when I had a less stressful job! Nowadays, I often forget all about treat day and by the time I get down to the work room to make copies, it is mid-afternoon and there’s nothing left. If I do happen to get in on it, I’ll take what I want and eat it for lunch, leaving the lunch I brought from home in the refrigerator until the next day.