How to Escape School Chaos With a TQZ

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The TQZ is not a rap star–at least not one we know about. It’s not a dance or some hip new social network. TQZ stands for Teacher Quiet Zone.

Experienced educator and Hack Learning creator Mark Barnes explains three easy ways to create your own TQZ, or Teacher Quiet Zone, and escape the chaos of your hectic work day.

Based on a concept from the bestselling book, Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School, Mark details what a TQZ is, where to find it, and how to start using it immediately. The Teacher Quiet Zone can be used by non-educators too and is a marvelous way to reduce stress and decompress from the craziness of your work day.

3 Ways to Create Your TQZ Immediately

Establishing a permanent Teacher Quiet Zone will take some creativity and will require adjustment in the mindset of some staff members, but you can get a taste for the benefits of this hack by following these steps:

  • Locate your getaway. Find a space in your building that is typically vacant for some chunk of the school day: a rarely-used storage room, a conference room, a large closet, or a classroom that is unused at predictable times. Unless you have no other options, avoid using your own classroom for this purpose.
  • Invite friends. Find a few other staff members who would be interested in doing a test run of a TQZ with you. Using e-mail or your favorite faculty communication tool, announce that for one day only, Conference Room B (or whatever your designated area is) will be blocked off as a Teacher Quiet Zone, and that any teacher found there should be left undisturbed. Invite other staff members to use the room, but be clear that any talking should be taken outside the TQZ. Sell the idea as a great option for teachers who are looking for a refuge.
  • Try it. Use your temporary TQZ and remember the idea of iteration: If some aspects of the TQZ don’t work quite right, see these as opportunities for improvement, rather than reasons to abandon the project.
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