Posts Tagged ‘school cafeteria’

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On Tuesday mornings, I have cafeteria duty. I hate cafeteria duty. You have to be a cop, making sure the kids follow the procedures and keep the talking to a minimum. “It’s time to eat, not talk. If you continue to talk, you will be asked to leave.” The kind of talk that’s not kind. I do try to greet the kids with a smile and good morning, but breakfast time has one goal. “Eat something.”

When P came in, he didn’t follow procedure. He came straight to me before going through the cafeteria line.

“Good morning,” I said. “I see you have a broken arm. What happened?”

P begins his monologue. A story he has practiced and told before. “I was on my skateboard, and I was trying to go up the two steps, but I hit the first step and fell.”

I express my sympathy, “That must’ve really hurt.”

“Yes, but… that’s not why I’m talking to you. I need help with my tray.”

I jump into action. “Of course, I’ll get your tray for you.” I went through the line, brought him his tray, opened his milk, and packaged, heated breakfast sandwich.

His smile and puppy dog eyes were thanks enough.

Later, I was walking down the hall to transfer to my next school. P’s kindergarten class was dutifully lined up to go to P.E. or library. He stepped out of the line when he saw me and whispered something I couldn’t understand.

I leaned over, put my arm around his good shoulder and leaned in. He whispered, “I love you.”

My heart melted. I actually had tears in my eyes as I wandered out to my car. I’m going to change my perspective on cafeteria duty.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

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“You shall have joy, or you shall have power, said God; you shall not have both”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

It was a rough morning in the school cafeteria. The first thing out of the lunch lady’s mouth was “Shut up!” and the tall 15 year-old 6th grade bully threatened a younger student. Another duty teacher greeted each child with a “Tuck in that shirt!” Later, a teacher’s aide stopped me and said, “Don’t you just hate breakfast duty? Tomorrow we need to make sure they don’t sit next to their friends.” More rules, no!

I know we have to be strong and disciplined so that absolute mayhem doesn’t break out. But, come on, friends, is all this negativity necessary? We do not know where these kids came from. Did they start the day with a hug and a smile from a loved one? Not likely.

I’m just sayin’, if we spread a little more respect and kindness, we may see a little more in return. In my classroom, I am careful to speak with respect to my students, and I expect them to return that respect to me and to each other. For the most part, it works. We all slip up every once in a while. That’s what I’m sorry is for.

Maybe if we could all practice patience and kindness, our schools and our communities would be better places to be.

Just sayin’…

Link to my students’ Slices

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