Read: Why an open door policy routinely kicks me in the butt.
I'm a chatty person; I love to hear about what's going on in the lives of the children, families, and teachers who pass through this building daily. I ask questions and check in to see how everyone is doing, how that family vacation went, etc. When parents want to talk, I say things like, "I'm here all day, come stop in" and write in the newsletters (both parent and staff) that I'm available to chat. I like to think that our entire site has a very open-door policy. Parents and family members are routinely invited into the classrooms to participate in the communities their children are a part of... it's awesome. I love when a mom or dad lingers in the morning and reads a story to the children. What an amazing display of home & school connections!
Alas, my struggle is something different... whenever I stop moving long enough to eat, that's the exact moment when staff trickles into the office to ask a litany of questions -- great questions, I might add. We're a burgeoning community of questioners and reflective thinkers. I thought the solution to this might be to close my door for a quick moment while I inhale my food. But it just never fails, someone will knock and I just can't help myself... I always answer.
Does that make me unprofessional? To be mid-Ramen slurp when a teacher comes to chat about the NAEYC classroom portfolio? It's nap time! The teachers are capitalizing on this work time and can I really ignore these questions? I worked so hard to get them to feel comfortable asking questions -- and to use rest time appropriately....
True, I could leave the site at this point, but I really don't want to be eating off-site daily ($$) and that would take me away from the team that has such wonderful questions. I can't realistically eat lunch at 10 every day or at 3pm (which I have been known to do and then it's parents knockin' on the door, catching me mid-Ramen slurp)... what suggestions do you have? How can I balance the needs of my teacher people & my stomachs demand to be fed?