What is special about this place, and the learning that happens in it?
The teacher’s lounge at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School serves multiple functions, few of which have anything to do with being a “lounge”:
- 5 times a year, it serves as a thoroughfare between the indoor corridor (where ping-pong tables are stationed) and the “Cafetorium”, in which the school dance is held.
- Every day there are teachers using the copy machines it houses to prepare materials for teaching. They might come and use the fridge and microwave as well.
- Sometimes it serves as the venue for PTA meetings, during which coffee and bread are offered for participants to take away.
- There are big storage lockers for computer carts, which are accessed many times a day.
- If the staff working in the “Cafetorium” want to use the bathroom, they have to go through this space.
Apart from these functional activities, the only time the space is used for “learning” purposes is when teachers want to collaborate together but cannot find a meeting room elsewhere on the school campus. Many of the teaching staff recently took part in a workshop at the d.school at Stanford in early January, and they seem to be keen on using design thinking in their teaching — it would be good if this space could be made to support their newly-acquired collaborative ethos.
What “aha”s or insights help to constrain your design?
- Since the room has high traffic (people coming in and out for copying, and computer carts coming in and out for usage and storage), furniture in the room should be easy to move.
- Principal Ofek expressed her visions for the room in terms of adjectives: relaxing, comfortable, professional and collaborative. These seem to suggest a space that is relatively cozy, but also professionally productive.
- Principal Ofek also mentioned that many teachers, especially those who are younger and those who have their own classrooms, rarely come to the lounge for downtime. Motivating teachers to come and collaborate is part of the challenge too.