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