Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Lunch Dates #T4TMoments
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Slice of Life: Lunch Dates #T4TMoments

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Do you know when we will be breaking for lunch?

I am guessing between 11:30 and 12:00?  Does that work for you?

 I want to do what the group needs, but it would be great if we could break at 11:55.

I will check with the group, but I think that should work. 

Great.  Then I can keep my lunch date.

 She walks back to her seat with a skip in her step and a smile on her face.  “What lunch date does she have in the middle of the school day?” I think.  “Wish I had lunch dates on a school day.”

 

I was keeping track of time and decide to wrap the group up at 11:50 so we didn’t run over.

This seems like a good stopping point.   Let’s take a 35-minute lunch break and come back at 12:25. 

Can we have ten more minutes on this and then break?  We are not quite done and don’t want to lose our momentum.

What do I do?  I am fine with taking more time, but I know a teacher has a time commitment.

Why don’t we do this, if you are ready to break go ahead and come back at 12:25 to finish up.  If you want to keep working for ten minutes go ahead and come back at 12:35. We will regroup then.

She gives me a wink and off she goes.

Later the teacher who asked for extra time comes to me to apologize for making things complicated by her request.

No worries at all – this works out just fine.  I knew someone had an important appointment at 11:55 so I wanted to honor that request.

 You mean the lunch date?

 My face must express my confusion.

The lunch date?  Is that what we are talking about?

 I remain silent – not wanting to talk out of turn.

Come with me.

I follow this teacher out the door and down the hall.  She points at a door that is propped open.  I see the teacher sitting at a table that is set for a special lunch with a student.

She does it every day.  She gives up her lunch to eat with one of her students – a lunch date.

 

I still feel a warm rush and a smile spread across my face when I picture this scene.  It is, in my mind, a mentor teaching move. This teacher sacrifices her lunch and prep (on some days) to eat lunch with one of her students.  This may not seem like “prep” at first, but on reexamination I wonder if it is one of the most essential types of “prep” we can do as educators.  When we take the time to connect and understand our students we build relationships that will ultimately help us teach them.

We are not teaching the standards – we are teaching children the standards.  I think this distinction is an important one to remember.  We spend so much time unpacking and mapping the standards.  Do we spend the same amount of time getting to know our students?  Do we think about how to teach them the objective rather than just teach the objective?  Do we make sure we know our students well enough to engage them in the process of learning?

There are many ways to bring the “lunch date” to life in a classroom.  I know I will be thinking more about “prepping” in this way.

Clare

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14 Comments
  • Avatar
    Lisa C
    Posted at 11:34h, 09 March Reply

    Lovely! I have done this occasionally, but have never made the commitment to do it every day. I like to bring in small groups of children who might be having some social difficulties. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Susan M Kennedy
    Posted at 12:29h, 09 March Reply

    I haven’t even read all the way through this and I wish I was having a lunch date with you today. Though I’ve yet to see you actually eat lunch. LOL

    • Avatar
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 12:35h, 09 March Reply

      You succeeded with a belly laugh! I just called my husband because he took the last power bar — what will I eat for lunch in my 5 minute break today??!!! I might have to make a sandwich. See you next week.
      Clare

  • Avatar
    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 13:05h, 09 March Reply

    “We are not teaching the standards–we are teaching children the standards.” You’re right, Clare, that is an important distinction. Taking time to really know our students is joyful work. Making our classrooms communities of learning and sharing–that’s vital. Thanks for sharing this story with us.

  • Avatar
    Lynne Dorfman
    Posted at 13:14h, 09 March Reply

    Clare, your statement – We are not teaching the standards – we are teaching children the standards- is eloquent and important. Taking time to watch them play at recess or to eat lunch with a student or a “lunch bunch” is important. You learn so many things about your students, and you are teaching them that connecting with people and having conversations is important and makes you human!

    When I had my own class, I ate lunch once a month in the lunchroom with the kids (skipping December and June). My choice. They loved it – the girls and the boys!

    You offer great questions for reflection. Thanks for another wonderfully wise slice!

  • Avatar
    Carrie Gelson
    Posted at 15:28h, 09 March Reply

    I had no idea where this was going and must admit loved every bit of the confusion.

  • Avatar
    Christine Baldiga
    Posted at 15:46h, 09 March Reply

    This is so very powerful!
    “We are not teaching the standards – we are teaching children the standards. I think this distinction is an important one to remember. We spend so much time unpacking and mapping the standards. Do we spend the same amount of time getting to know our students? Do we think about how to teach them the objective rather than just teach the objective? Do we make sure we know our students well enough to engage them in the process of learning?”

    Thank you!

  • Avatar
    Tara
    Posted at 17:23h, 09 March Reply

    What a great story! It’s all about kids and the relationships we build with them. Learning can’t really happen without that love and trust.

  • Avatar
    Michelle
    Posted at 18:04h, 09 March Reply

    Oh, I love this! I used to do more lunch dates and then having children and trying to balance all that I could, I now use my lunch to get more work done. But as you say it so beautifully, these lunch dates are essential for learning and connecting — the best purposeful planning can happen next. Thanks for the reminder and I’m going to set my next lunch date!
    ~Michelle

  • Avatar
    Terje
    Posted at 19:02h, 09 March Reply

    The slice is so well written that you keep the reader’s attention alert all the way to the end, and then one can’t help than smile and be inspired.

  • Avatar
    Amy
    Posted at 22:37h, 09 March Reply

    This is beautiful. You kept me wondering too and I certainly did not expect the outcome you shared. What resonated with me was this:
    We are not teaching the standards – we are teaching children the standards.
    I’ll wrap it up with another hashtag: #thisiswhyweteach
    ~Amy

  • Avatar
    Rose Cappelli
    Posted at 23:22h, 09 March Reply

    Very wise thoughts, as always! Thanks for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Katherine Sokolowski
    Posted at 00:47h, 10 March Reply

    Love this post -you had me all the way until the end. What a great lesson!

  • Avatar
    Karen Terlecky
    Posted at 02:32h, 10 March Reply

    What a lovely, lovely post! This teacher is someone I’d love to meet!

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