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If you’ve ever walked into an establishment around the lunch hour (let’s say on a day off or in-service day) and see other professionals in suits leisurely chatting and eating, and a little voice erupts inside your head that says “Ahh..so this is what the rest of the world does on their lunch break,” then you must be a teacher!
The lunch time flies by during the school day. They haul kids in and out of the lunch room so quickly, I’m not sure if some kids even have a chance to open and drink their milk before they are herding them out for recess. For teachers, it’s a time in the day to take a deep breath and
sit quietly and eat your lunch I mean, prep for your afternoon classes!
eating inhaling art teachers fall into several categories. Let’s take lunch pop quiz and see where you fit:
Which one sounds more like you? A, B, C or D?
A. When your lunch period comes, you go straight to the ‘lounge” and spend the next 15 minutes (at least) in line to use a tiny 300 watt microwave splattered with yesterday’s spaghetti leftovers and by the time your food is hot, you have around 5 minutes left to scarf down your food and run to beat the class that is walking in. The brief adult interaction, however, was worth it.
B. You spend the lunch hour but prepping materials and checking emails. You scarf a turkey sandwich or power bar while sitting at your computer catching up on your ‘life.’ You don’t know how you’d survive if you took the time to wait for a microwave (see option A), and certainly are too busy to chat with other adults. You can save the chit chat for happy hour.
C. It depends upon the day. If you have time and feel caught up, you eat with the students and get a hot lunch. Other days, you might grab something at your desk or eat with other teachers. Sometimes your room is so full of study hall kids finishing artwork, you don’t even get a bite to eat. It totally varies and even though you have no system, it works fine for you.
D. You have no problems with lunch- Your prep period is adjunct to your lunch hour, so you leisurely spend time eating, run uptown to grab something yummy, and still have time to prep for your afternoon classes. Life is good.
If you answered A, then you are doing a good job finding time for yourself during the day but could benefit from getting a few things done over your lunch if you constantly feel rushed or behind. Sitting and waiting for your turn at the microwave may be eating precious time you could be preparing, but overall, you deserve a little ‘student free’ time. Good for you.
If you answered B, then you may be missing key opportunities to get out of your bubble and interact with others in the building,which can be a great time for networking. Don’t feel bad about taking a little time for yourself, though, it’s probably keeping you sane.
If you answered C, you are probably representing most teachers. Each day can be so different and encompass a variety tasks and challenges. Lunch is no different. A little structure may help you manage your time more wisely. For example if you spend M,W,F eating with other teachers and T,Th working in your room, then you may find more balance to get important things done and meet and greet with your colleagues at the same time.
If you answered D, we all hate you. (hehe) Go back to your origami and enjoy the extended lunch. No seriously, we are happy for you. Really.
No matter what your lunch style, I think we can all agree that lunch time is way too short for teachers. Some teachers have several duties to occupy their time around the lunch hour, too. It takes an extra 10 minutes to get bundled up for winter recess duty (yep, that was me!).
One trick I’ve used (on good weeks) is to have lunches prepped for the entire week on Sunday (or at least the ‘sides’) Get one apple, one baggie of carrots, one granola bar, one yogurt, one string cheese, etc.. all ready to go in a Ziploc for each day. Throw together some leftovers to add to the mix and I was set. This magic organization didn’t always happen, but when it did, I was sure glad I took the extra time. Another teacher I know purchased several box flats of Progresso canned soup and an economy pack of granola bars, and had lunch sitting at school for the whole month ready to go. (Can you say ‘sick of soup,’ anyone!?)
Oh, and in my state teachers must be offered a 30 minute, duty free lunch. Is that the same for you? Any other interesting rules at your school?
What did you answer? A, B, C or D? Tell us about your ‘lunch style”
What is your ‘go to’ lunch item to bring or grab?