Chocolate. It seems to be the universal mood lifter, stress reliever, and calming agent contained in one small foil wrapper. A number of years ago I started the tradition of having a candy (98% chocolate filled) box in my room for teachers to partake of as needed. Word quickly spread and it has become part of a new teacher’s orientation to learn that this box filled with chocolate delights exists in my room.
I can gauge the tone and stress level of the building by the amount of chocolate that is consumed. Prior to vacation weeks I can hardly teach and refill the seemingly self-empting box. Those weeks I contemplate getting a second job to afford the refills. Other weeks I can tell calm is about the building, the box stays quite full for 3-4 days.
On one occasion, an otherwise quiet teacher came into my room and shouted, “I’m so glad you’re not testing. I NEED chocolate!” That sentiment has been repeated over and over. Many have been known to tiptoe in before the kids even arrive to pop the magic tonic. I work in a building of hard working teachers but if peppermint patties, a favorite of many, are put in the box, by some soundless drumbeat people arrive throughout the day to mine the treasure.
Many a good professional conversation has also been started over the crinkly unwrapping of foil. The size of the mountain of foil generated is often indicative of the intensity of the concern.
I feel it is a good investment in the well being of my colleagues.