The easy answer should be: wherever you like. However, school politics are such that this is not really the case. Each school is a creature with its own personality – in some respects this makes them a wonderful place to work. There is no general advice that can be given for your staffroom. Yet, here are some “fun” points that are worth considering.
First: certain subjects might take ownership of certain areas of the staffroom. Ask someone where your team like to sit and choose if you are going to cluster with your clan or if you are going to be a bold crusader into the world of cross curricular!
Second: find out where the teacher who has always taught at the school sits – the matriarch or patriarch who secretly runs the school no matter what the head teacher suggests. This seat is like a throne and should only be sat in if that teacher is absent. Even if they are off school unwell or on a course you will find that the seat remains empty! Watch people stare if you sit there… it’s fun… give it a try.
Third: Work out where the head teacher stands in briefing, if this happens in the staffroom. Make your decision about if you want to be in the head’s line of sight or not. One colleague, from a previous school, would always stand next to the head teacher during briefing – without fail. There was some point being made about hierarchy and colleagues in it together – but most people didn’t understand why he did it.
Then, find a comfy seat and relax because realistically all of this should be tongue in cheek. There should be no problem where you sit in the staffroom. My preference was to sit amongst the teaching assistants, mostly because they were funny and they rarely asked me questions about policy or about a difficult student. They asked me about my evening or about my weekend. We all have our preferences. Be aware, my team thought my choice to sit amongst the TAs was a statement being made as Head of English about what I thought was important – so whatever happens – people will decide what it means independent of you. So, do what feels right to you.
But, when it comes to mugs and people’s milk in the staffroom – not going there – that is serious stuff that can get you into real bother!