In schools, colleges and universities, the teachers' lounge (aka "faculty lounge" or — in the UK — the "staff room") is essentially a break room: a place with sofas and upholstered chairs and a coffeemaker for the faculty to enjoy some relaxing social time away from their teaching.
But from the students' perspective, the only thing they know about the Mysterious Teachers Lounge is ... well, that they don't know what exactly lies beyond that locked door marked "No Students Allowed".
So in school settings, expect to see student characters discuss and debate what might be inside. Speculation about its intriguing secrets may go wild. Is there a Secret Room hidden behind a bookshelf, perhaps with a stash of Impossibly Delicious Food or booze? Are there beds for quick naps (or "quickies")? Is there a trapdoor to an Elaborate Underground Base? What do teachers do in the lounge? If enough characters get involved, they may even plan to sneak in and discover for themselves what sorts of secrets are hidden there.
In more faculty-centric shows, some teachers may make an issue out of use of the teachers' lounge by support staff, showing that they are a pompous Upper-Class Twit. In Real Life it's usually officially labeled as "Faculty/Staff Lounge", even if nobody calls it that, for that reason.
In some old colleges and universities, such as Oxford or Cambridge, the faculty lounge may be more like a posh private club, with a sumptuous dining room, a wood-panelled lounge and a library where glasses of port and brandy are served and pipes are smoked.
Fun fact for today's kids: During the 1980s, the years between teachers not being allowed to smoke in the classroom, and teachers not being allowed to smoke in the school or school property at all, the teachers' lounge reeked of cigarettes. The smell was noticeable well into the hallway leading past it.
Compare Wondrous Ladies Room, a similar place in which no man has gone before, and which males sometimes wonder about. See Teachers Out of School for when part of the mystery surrounding teachers evaporates when you see your history teacher buying groceries at Walmart.
- In the "Teachers United" strip in the British comic School Fun, the teachers have an Elaborate Underground Base accessed through a 'Staff Only' cupboard.
- In The Faculty, Casey and Delilah break into the teachers' lounge in order to get a story for the school newspaper. This isn't the first time they'd done this; Delilah had gone in there before to discover that one of the teachers was drinking on the job. They wind up finding the corpse of Mrs. Brummel in the closet, as well as Coach Willis and Mrs. Olson infecting the school nurse with the alien parasite.
- In the Wayside School books, the teacher's lounge is referred to as a secret place where students shouldn't come.
- Features in the Jennings books. In Thanks to Jennings, owing to a sitcom-style misunderstanding, the boys become convinced that the teachers go up to the room after dinner in order to secretly snack on a second course.
- In The Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson, one kid starts a rumor that any kid who gets into the teachers' room will never come out again; this leads to everyone being terrified of the teachers' room and refusing to go anywhere near it.
- The Uncommon Room at Unseen University in Discworld really is one. There are comfy chairs and lots of food is always brought in. Interestingly, we're seeing it from the faculty perspective, as students at UU are largely ignored (by their professors as well as the narrative, in fact.)
- In Speak, Melinda lampshades this when she and Heather are going to spruce up the teacher's lounge, wondering if there's a secret file cabinet full of student records, beds for teachers wanting a nap, or boxes of tissues for those who get nervous breakdowns. Turns out it's just a sparsely decorated and very plain room with a few chairs and a table.
- In the Franny K. Stein book The Invisible Fran, one chapter has Franny take advantage of her invisibility potion by using it to see what the faculty are doing when children aren't around. She peeks into the teacher's lounge and sees the teachers dancing.
- iCarly: "The Teachers Lounge", where Sam breaks in, and the icky gross teachers have affairs with each other.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide: When the door opened, dance music and disco lights could be seen and heard from the hallway along with smoke pouring out.
- Everybody Hates Chris: the teachers lounge is a beatnik cafe where the teachers smoke, drink, and perform poetry.
- Nick Hancock referred to this trope on Room 101, and how disappointed he was when he actually became a teacher and learned that the only secret about the staffroom is that as soon as they enter it, all teachers become obsessed with biscuits to the exception of all else.
- In Mr. D, Gerry argues that the school librarian shouldn't have access to the teachers' lounge. To be fair, said librarian tends to hog the microwave.
- In Community episode "Introduction To Teaching", Jeff is invited to the Greendale teacher's lounge, which is run like an exclusive club. So exclusive, in fact, that Dean Pelton isn't allowed to enter, which pleases Jeff.
- One Big Nate Sunday strip sees Nate and Teddy ponder what goes on within the teacher's lounge, and Teddy offers Nate a buck to take a peek inside. He takes the offer...and is immediately scarred witnessing Mrs. Godfrey kneeling on top of Mr. Rosa (previous panels established that she was trying to help straighten out his back, but Nate is bereft of that context).
- Double Homework: averted, not only does the protagonist go inside the faculty room, he can have sex with Ms. Walsh there. And Dr. Mosely catches him if he does.
- Recess: one episode involves this, and the gang expects it to be some sort of magical place, but is subverted when they actually see just being a normal room. Double Subverted when they leave it, and one of the teachers presses a few buttons on the vending machine, revealing a hidden room with a spa.
- A Pepper Ann comic in Disney Adventures uses this trope as the basis for its plot. When she is allowed to actually visit the lounge, her expectations on what it contains were crushed. After she leaves, the teachers reveal a secret luxurious room of the lounge.
- On an episode of Arthur, we get a series of crazy imagine spots about what goes on in the lounge, complete with Lampshade Hanging: "And that's where our tax dollars go!"
- A Daria tie-in book depicts the teacher's lounge, complete with broken-down furniture, ugly colors and evidence of fighting between the staff. Daria opines: "Students aren't allowed in here. They might find out how depressing it is to be an adult."
- This clip from The Simpsons.