Saturday, September 13, 2008

Observations From The Lunch Table

Teachers are the easiest people to please. Don't believe me? Tell a group of teachers that you are giving out Post-It notes or reams of paper, and they start drooling. I know, because I'm one of the main droolers. Teachers love school supplies. I told my students once (while trying to explain my protectiveness over my industrial stapler that staples 60 sheets with one finger) that teachers in Office Max are like kids in Toys R Us. I think they understood that analogy.

If you really want to see a teacher get excited, tell them that you are going to watch their class during lunch. Most professions have a lunch break. You can go somewhere or sit in your car and eat your sandwich. You could go and get some lunch somewhere with your co-workers at a nice restaurant. Teachers----not so much. Not only do teachers have one place to eat (and it's either bring your own lunch or eat cafeteria food) they have to eat with their students. Every once and while, they get a chance to eat just with each other while some saintly folks offer to supervise their classes. Sweet!! Don't get me wrong, I really like my kids. But watching them eat at lunch makes me feel like I don't even know them. It also makes me wonder how their meals go at home.

Case in point....this week, I was eating lunch with my students and about 300 other kids in a cafeteria that was not built for sound absorption. As I'm holding my sandwich in hand (I brought mine from home that day) I look down the table to check on my kids. One student has his hand inside his jello cup and he's manually mixing the blue jello and the dollop of whipped cream that came with it. He's really working hard at pulverizing his jello so he can get it the consistency of soup. I called the student's name to get his attention and proceeded to tell him that wasn't appropriate and his response.....wait for it........ " Well I wasn't going to eat it!" After I stopped laughing (you gotta find humor in these things) I had the kid get up, and come over to me so we could talk--again, very loud cafeteria. I asked if at his house everyone mixes the mashed potatoes with gravy the same way he was treating his jello. His response, of course, was no. That's what kills do have some manners concerning eating, but when they get together in large groups, they seem to forget them. It would have made me ecstatic if I had been offered a duty-free lunch that day. It didn't happen.

You'd think that I'd have lost my appetite after that. Didn't happen. I was so busy scarfing (literally) down my food that I didn't have a chance to think about what I had just seen. I also tried not to think about how many of my kids didn't wash their hands after our recent bathroom break. You just can't go there if you teach....if you do, you may never recover.

Perhaps I'll keep notes of what I experience during my lunch on the new Post-It notes I got. I'm so excited! (Really, I am!)


Carrie said...

hahaha...the jello incident was pretty funny...

Anonymous said...

What the *&*&*#$%? You have to eat with the kids? That's dreadful. I thought eating with other teachers was bad but kids? Unbelievable. There goes my appetite. I've seen kids in groups eat. I've seen hogs slop it up from a trough. The two are virtually indistinguishable save for louder grunts and snorts coming from the human feeders. Do you at least get an adult-sized chair or do you have to sit at the kids' table?

Menta Lee Hill said...

Tassie, that's rather generous of you to refer to that glop of white stuff on top of the gelatinous mass as "whipped cream." True whipped cream is rarely seen in school cafeterias, unless of course it's cafeteria at some fancy "country day" school.

Anonymous said...

Duty free lunch down?

LT (and Max) said... i wish we could eat in solitude. what a luxury that would be!