Lunch Time

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Last year, when all of the teachers were asked if they wanted to be an “advisor” to a group of students, I ignored the offer.  I figured with my personality, which is very shy, I would not be a good fit for the job.  Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching students, I am not shy in front of them, and whenever I mention during class that I am very shy, the students don’t believe me. But the thought of a one-on-one or a small group encounter made me cringe.

During a parent/teacher/administrator conference the other day, I was urged, by the parent, to have  lunch with her child. The butterflies in my stomach went crazy.  The student that I was asked to have lunch with is extremely quiet in class and I hadn’t ever had a long conversation with her her about anything.  When I would speak to her when we were doing classwork, it was always me doing the talking, not her.

So, I decided to ask the student’s friend to join us for lunch on the chosen day.  I figured at least having another person present would make us more comfortable.

On the day of the lunch, I was really nervous.  Lunch time came and both girls got their lunches and came in to the room.  I shut the door and the conversation exploded!  The student that was the main focus burst into conversation. I heard about the games she likes to play, her love for cats, hamsters, and so on.  Both girls were talkative and I saw completely different children.  They were open, humorous, VERY entertaining, and VERY verbal.  They both were totally different people than what I “thought” they were like.  It was an eye-opening experience.

I did some research and found a couple of interesting blog posts about the topic of lunch with students.  One is from my new idol, Michael Linsin.  He states:

“It connects the less connected.

Most students, and even some teachers, assume that shy, less popular students choose to be the way they are. But the truth is, self-consciousness and social awkwardness preclude them from taking part in a natural or meaningful way. Deep down, in their sweetest dreams, they would love to be able to banter and joke with classmates appropriately, participate in class unabashedly, and be just one of the girls or boys.”

I could not agree more, especially since I was one of the shy students in school.  I always wanted to be able to raise my hand and contribute to the class discussion, but I could never find the nerve to do so. I would have loved for a teacher to get to know me.

I would like to make a suggestion to everyone.  Have lunch with one or two students that you really don’t know very well.  Don’t talk about the community of kindness, how to be a better school citizen or role- model, or anything else school related.  Just have lunch with them and let them lead the conversation.  I guarantee you that you will see an entirely different child than you see during class.

This was the best thing I’ve done with students in years!

Image Credit:

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KIDS5_PKETAM_0298.jpg

 

 

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Teacher-Twenty-One

December 2013
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