Sunday, July 24, 2011

40 minutes fast

Summers are for leisurely made and eaten Greek salads.

Dug up this 2009 article from the New York Times after talking to a colleague about our short lunch times. Apparently, when my colleague (in her 40s) was in school, she had a full hour for lunch from elementary through high school. I remember my high school lunch period being 50 minutes - enough time for me to go home for a decent lunch and get back with time to spare.

My middle school has a 40 minute lunch period, including the 5 minute passing period at the end for students to transition to 5th period. When I worked at the elementary level, I had a 35 minute lunch period.

It sucks in elementary - by the time the kids are all lined up, out the door, and safely under the supervision of the lunch time staff, there's about 25 minutes left until lunch is over. And it was expected at that school for teachers to start going out to the playground by 5 minutes before to pick up their class. My master teacher, Mr. B, taught me the trick of lining the class up at least 5 minutes before the bell so that when it finally did ring, we would be half-way to the cafeteria. This takes A LOT of practice, timing the lessons just right and making the morning sessions as productive as possible. Fortunately, that was my 5th/6th split and they were savvy enough to catch on - if we worked hard in the morning, we got to go to lunch first. And 5th/6th graders love being first.

My colleague, Ms. O, has this theory that kids no longer know what to do with themselves in their free time, leading to more behavior problems, which is why there is a seeming trend that school lunch periods are getting shorter and shorter. I say seeming because I haven't come across any documentation or studies on this. This is the first I've ever heard of Ms. O's theory, but it sort of makes sense.

So here's my first question I've ever directly posed to my blog audience (if there's anyone reading this): Have you noticed the trend of shorter lunch times? What do you make of it?

No comments: