Shirtsureishimasu (しつれいします) <1>
(You say, “Shitsureishimasu” before entering a Teachers’ Room in Japan.)
Every school in Japan has a “Teachers’ Room” called “Shokuin Shitsu (しょくいんしつ). This is NOT equivalent to “Teachers’ Lounge” in US. Teachers’ lounges are where teachers take a break as you know it. On the contrary, Japanese “Shokuin Shitsu” are where teachers prepare for their classes. American teachers are not paid for the time they are in the lounges while Japanese teachers are.
This difference comes from how schools are operated – American teachers go straight to thier class rooms where they are in charge or to the special rooms, such as science rooms, art studios, or music rooms, while Japanese teachers go to Shokuinshitu, where they leave their belongings and keep teaching materials to take to each classrooms. As a matter of fact, it is students that move to their teachers’ rooms in US while it is teachers that go to each different class from period to period in Japan.
Because of this situation, students are supposed to show utmost respect to where their teachers work as much as to their teachers themselves when entering Shokuinshitsu at school. Accordingly, students are supposed to say, “Excuse me (Shitsureishimasu)” before entering the teachers’ room. The bottom line here is that students are about to interrupt their teachers when they are working for “them.”
(Courtesy is very important in Japan.)
Wherever the concept of “INTERRUPTION” like this exists, the party that interrupts “what is going on right there” definitely says, “Shitsureishimasu” in Japan. In the meantime, students who are about to leave Shokuinshitsu say, “Shitsureishimashita (しつれいしました <past tense>).”
(Typical Shokuinshitsu in Japan)
(A real picture of Shikuinshitsu)