It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these and I figured I’d basically covered everything I could think of. And this one is, I’ll admit, slightly lame. Well, it’s fairly insignificant, all things considered. But I’m including it.
I go through the lunch line in the cafeteria with my students.
This means I don’t just drop them at the cafeteria door and walk away. I take them in, I walk through the line with them. I don’t buy lunch but I go with them. Lunch lines are often places where kids get a bit out of control. They don’t always behave respectfully.
I figure the folks in the cafeteria aren’t paid enough (in my opinion) and the least I can do is help make their job a little easier. In addition, it’s always possible I can help my students make healthier choices when it comes to their lunches. I’m not likely to convince them to get one thing over something else and I’m not trying to. I just might be able to convince them to grab a second vegetable or a fruit rather than pass them by. (I do realize that doesn’t guarantee they eat it. But they can’t eat it if it isn’t on their tray. So…)
This hasn’t always been a part of my routine. I started doing it when I taught first graders and it was tough for them to reach certain things in the cafeteria line and they were prone to forgetting their lunch numbers. I continued it when I went to kindergarten and then to third grade because I feel it helps out. It might cost me a few minutes of my lunch time, but I can take that. I’ve been a teacher long enough that I know how to eat fairly quickly. (A sentence that will shock my parents who believe I am the slowest eater in history.)
There are many folks in a school who often are ignored. The people in the cafeteria are definitely on that list. However, they are crucial to our days. I am grateful to them and happy to do a little to help them.