The Hunger Game : Lunch Duty

JeremyJeremy Kautzfrom Menasha, is majoring in Mathematics Education with a minor in Spanish (Non-licensable) He wants to become a teacher so he can have an influence on social progress, justice and the creation of a more just and green world. His 18 week placement is taking place at Webster Stanley Middle School in Oshkosh.

During the first week of my student teaching experience I was forwarded an e-mail. Wanted: Lunch Supervisors. As a student teacher is incredibly important to get involved in the school community because it gives you a chance to connect with the school, other faculty and the students you serve. In my second week at the middle school, I became a deputized lunch supervisor. Lunch duty at the middle school entails three main duties: crowd control, time management and conflict resolution.

A Middle School Lunchroom, is one of the more freely structured environments in the school, aside from hallways during passing time and recess outdoors. In continuing and enforcing the PBIS our school has adopted in the last year to improve student behavior and performance, the duties of a lunch supervisor are very important. One of our main tools are Golden Tickets which can be used to win raffles including privileges, prize packs at the end of the week, or the ability to participate in exciting events at rallies. With the Golden Tickets, used for positive reinforcements either in my pocket or worn as a necklace I am prepared to convert from 5th hour to 7th/8th grade lunch.

Being a new student teacher in the lunchroom the students seemed keen to try and delve past the mysterious barriers I placed around my life outside of school. I can’t count the number of guesses that were taken at my first name, as though I were a Rumplestiltskin, and the name would give them power. Other questions have included snickers of middle schoolers as I have been asked the most peculiar, and possibly incriminating questions. My advice is to answer their questions in a way which leaves no room for misinterpretation, either silence or a calculated response.

Students can also be particularly devious in the pranks they try (and sometimes) get away with. On one french toast (breakfast for lunch) day, a student loosened the cap of the syrup so the next students in line had a flash of sticky sweetened high fructose corn syrup dumped all over their tray. No students stopped and decided it may be a good idea to put the cap on securely, I had to intervene, clean up the spill on the condiment table and the mess on the floor. Similarly students have failed to show responsibility with spills of milk, but a expedient response is always required. I will continue to respond to distressed spilling situations due to my experience working in a cafeteria for 5 years to get through school.

Per my recommendation, student teachers take the opportunity to become an employee of the district as a lunchroom supervisor. It gives them opportunities to connect with their fellow staff members, they get to see students in a less structured environment, and give them the opportunities to become acquainted with the schools disciplinary and reinforcement systems.

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