Seeing and Lunch Duty
Even though I am a high school teacher, I have lunch duty for 1st and 2nd graders with another staff member. Overall I enjoy the time in the middle of the day to be outside and interact with these precious ones. As you can see, we are now inside. The weather has been terribly cold and we have had lots of snow. With all the students packed in this basement room, it can get chaotic. This past week I dreaded going to lunch duty. The students were not listening. The big table cloth is a pain to get clean. The kids had lots of energy and no way to release it. It seemed like a no win situation.
What was I seeing? I was seeing students who were totally disregarding the rules and what I was asking them to do. I was seeing students who were making my life hard. I was seeing actions and not the students individually. Then as I looked closer, I saw students who were trying to clean up as best they could. I saw students who had lots of energy and no way to get it all out before heading back to the classroom. I saw the lunches lovingly prepared by their mothers and the smiles the students gave me when they said “hi.”
The question was how could I love and motivate them to do better instead of yelling at them and us both being miserable. The solution was a contest each day to see who could clean up the best. I seated each class separately and explained the rules to them. The whole class area had to be clean. The whole class had to work together. The class who did the best would win and could go outside to play first. The other classes could go out as soon as their area was clean. This contest reinforces a school motto of living for more than me. Helping clean up a mess that is not yours is hard for this age. “My area is clean”, they tell me as I look at the mess they have moved onto another person’s spot. Well, I only had a chance to test it one day but it was a success. Two classes went way beyond my expectations. They all worked together to get the trash picked up and the messes wiped up. The other class I will be working with but at least I have a place to focus my training. Who knows, maybe they will be first on Saturday.
I thank God for helping me think of this simple idea. I am praying for some ideas to help with my Algebra I class. It is so much better to be rewarding my students rather than getting on to them for misbehavior.
Dear God, Thank you for your help. Thank you that you perfectly demonstrated the concept of living for more than me. In this area, may I model for the kids and train them on what living for me looks like. Thank you for these little ones who want to learn. Be with them and show them your light. Amen