A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post encouraging lunch room supervisors to use those 30 minutes each day to build relationships with kids. If you haven't read it, you can find it by clicking HERE. Well, I am proud to say that two weeks into the challenge it has been a huge success at #milfordsoar.
This past week our assistant principal and I held a paper airplane contest with each day being a different challenge for students. The hope was that students would take the time to explore the different ways to make airplanes and also choose the design that would work best for each day. The challenge on Tuesday was to get it through the hoop. Wednesday was how far you could throw it and Thursday was how long the airplane would stay in the air. It was fun seeing the students compete in a contest that was merely designed to have some fun (and build relationships).
This week's challenge is to each lunch with a different table each day and get to learn your students' stories. I would also encourage your staffs to eat in the lunch room as well and get to know their students in a different way. Who knows, eating lunch with the students might become the norm.
The following is pictures and videos of the past two weeks at Jr High Lunch at #milfordsoar.
As educators there are many things that we either “get” to do or “have” to do each day. I hope that you have more “gets” on your list than “have” tos. Many times our attitude will dictate our approach to various situations, “get to” or “have to.”
I know as an administrator, one of the these situations many if not all administrators have placed in front of them daily is Lunch Duty. Those that have been on the front lines of this momentous 30 minutes that happens each day know that getting 150 young adolescents feed without a major catastrophe (spilling a slushie) is a victory in itself. Some days you “get” to mop up the slushie spill, while other days you are tracking kids down to finish homework, getting students to club meetings, reminding others they owe lunch money, or even consoling a student whose girlfriend just broke up with them in front of “THE ENTIRE CLASS.” (Que over dramatic 13 year old voice)
However daunting this task may seem, lunch duty does provide an opportunity that only comes around once a day. Lunch is the only time that we have all students, in the same room, at the same time. It allows for many opportunities that can greatly enhance relationship building amongst yourself and the students as well as building a strong culture in your building. This hit me like a slap to the face a couple of weeks ago when talking with a seventh grader during a 12 and under softball practice.
Practice had ended and we were waiting for parents to come and pick up their daughters. I am not quite sure how the subject of lunch was brought up but one of the girls asked me when I was going to eat lunch with her at her table. Now, I eat breakfast about once a week with a group of kids in the cafeteria but I don’t think I have ever eaten lunch with a group of kids, but why not? Why haven’t I taken the opportunity to sit down and get to know my students’ story even better? After thinking about it for a couple seconds I promised her I would sometime soon, as long as I was still invited.
When I got home, I began to think about this more and how everyday I definitely “get” the opportunity to spend 30 minutes with 150 kids. While they can be loud and obnoxious at times, they are just trying to burn off some of that pent up energy they have from being in class all morning. So I began to ask myself “Why.” Why can’t this time be used to build better relationships with kids? Why can’t we have structured activities to get them excited about being in the school building? How can we use this time to continue to develop our school culture? The answer is we can!
I have developed a schedule of activities to take place each week from now until April that will take place at MHS during Jr High Lunch. I would like to challenge other administrators or lunch duty supervisors to take the challenge with me. None of the tasks are time consuming or even financially burdensome. All of these activities are intended to build relationships with students and staff. You may have some of your own ideas or activities you already do. Please share with everyone and who knows what this might grow into, but mainly just have fun! Also, please use the hashtag #lunchduty so we can see what awesome educators are doing across the country with kids during their lunch period.
February 9-13--Take a selfie with a group of kids each day
February 16-20--Paper airplane contest, more information to come.
February 23-27--Eat lunch with a group of students and learn their story
March 2-6--Host a trivia contest
March 9-13--Play music
March 16-20--Encourage staff members to eat with students
March 23-27--Join in a four-square/hacky sack game
I recently came across the following article from the website www.vintage.es titled, "10 Jobs That No Longer Exist Today." The article intrigued me for two reasons. First, I love old photographs. There is something about an old black and white photo that makes me imagine what "yesteryear" was like. Secondly, it got me hypothesizing about what caused the extinction of these jobs? Why are ice cutters, lamp lighters, human alarm clocks and pin setters no longer needed? What innovations and technologies were developed that killed off these professions?
As I pondered these thoughts my mind quickly shifted to education and our responsibility as educators to prepare students for the jobs of the future. What are we currently teaching that is no longer needed or obsolete? What jobs are we preparing students for that will be extinct in 5, 10, 25 years? Just as "Pre-Radar Listeners for Enemy Aircraft" seems somewhat ridiculous and absurd by today's standards; bank tellers, travel agents, and newspaper delivery boys/girls will be equally as obscure to our children or grandchildren.
As educators, we have a responsibility to ensure we are preparing students for life beyond high school, Whether students plan on attending college, joining the armed forces, or entering the work force we need to ensure they have the skills to be successful and productive citizens. However, how do we prepare students for jobs that don't yet exist?
Just because we don't have a crystal ball to see what specific jobs will be available to our students doesn't mean we can't give them the skills they will need to take on the challenges of the real world. Problem solving, communication, creativity, and critical thinking (21st century skills) are vital skills for a successful career regardless if you are a log driver of the past or a nanoentoplastoncologiest (completely made up job) of the future.
However, we also need to be cognizant of what is out there being developed. Relying on the adage, "That's the way we've always done it" will no longer suffice. We must challenge our students to be creative and think outside the box, while no longer force them to sit in a seat for 47 minutes a day hoping they learn through a lecture only. Students need to be engaged in their learning and allowed opportunities to explore their true passions. Who says the next award winning nanoentoplastonocologiest isn't sitting in your classroom right now.
Hand drawn architectural plan of the 1936 addition to Milford High School. Courtesy of the MPS archives.
Milford Jr/Sr High Principal