Eat with students the first week

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mrsammieb, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    So my principal requires us to eat in the lunch room with the students the entire first week of school so we help teach them lunch room procedures. UGH! I hate this so much. Actually, I looked it up and it is against Georgia law that teachers should have a duty free lunch. But really how do you mention that to the principal? Does anyone else have to do this?
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm assuming that you mean it goes against contractual policies, not against the law... but I'll admit that I could be wrong. Are you in a school with a union? If it goes against your contract, ask your union rep to bring it up with the principal. I once served as a union rep, and I had to bring up a few issues that interfered with a duty-free lunch. If you're in a school without a union, then it may be that this isn't something you can fight.
     
  4. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    My state doesn't have unions, but we do have a state law that teachers get a duty free lunch. However, we are only guaranteed 80% duty free lunch, so if we needed to eat with students the first week, or cover lunch duty in an emergency, we can legally do so. I'm not certain it's really worth mentioning to the principal, however. I would use that time to try and build rapport with my class.
     
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  5. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    One way around it is to have a duty free lunch at the end of your day. For example your contracted day is 7:30 - 3:30 pm, but the kids go home at 2:30. You should be able to take your duty free lunch at 3:00 pm (for 30 minutes), meaning you do whatever you want, even go home. That's how it was at my previous school, we had to supervise the kids all day, so we ate lunch with them, and out prep and duty free lunch was at the end.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Your union should address this.
     
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  7. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    My P requires this too,as well as the first day back from Christmas and Spring break to re-teach procedures. We just eat during planning and it's not a huge deal. Our school is a PBIS school and our P is big on structures and procedures, so that's what most of our time is spent doing the 1st week anyways. Its just another structure that has to be taught, and I would rather teach it than leave it up to our poor paras that have to do lunch duty every day afterwards.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Like some others said, if you have a union bring it up to them and let them fight the battle for you. If you don't, personally this isn't a hill I'd die on. I would hate it too, but I'd be worried about repercussions from your admin.
     
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  9. Burtons

    Burtons New Member

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    If it's for the good of the kids then what's the problem? Someones and teach them.
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Do you teach, Burtons?
     
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  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You don't need to do that. Different people have different opinions regarding what is right.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I worked at a school that did this, too. We ate lunch with the kids every day, not just the first week of school. We also got paid for an extra half hour at the end of the day that we did not have to be at school.

    Personally, I wouldn't be happy about this, if my principal required it. However, I'd find it a whole lot easier on my mind to just accept it and get through the week, maintaining a positive attitude, than to get upset and cause a ruckus over it. Look for the positives - getting to know the kids and build those relationships - rather than focusing on how you are losing your duty-free lunch. It's only a week, and, I'd rather not have the added stress of being angry the whole week.
     
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  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm just curious about the member's point of view, since it's his/her first post. Someone who isn't a teacher has a different POV, someone in a union has a different experience than one who has a strong association. Of course we all have different experiences and opinions. Inquiring about one's background that influenced an opinion is informative. Thanks.
     
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  14. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    With everything, we should pick our battles. Personally, I would hate it too, but, it's not a battle I would pick because it's 5 days so I'll suck it up. But there are certain things I would fight for and stand my ground. So I guess it depends on how much you really dislike having lunch with students and giving up your time.
    If I was to bring it up with my P, I'd also bring an alternative solution or suggestion to the table on how to address what the P thinks needs to be addressed I.e. Teach lunch room procedures. And I wouldn't bring up the issue about it being "law", even if it were true. It would just get P on the defensive, because it implicitly implies that he is not doing his job right - that's how I would feel and react if I was the P - and that's not how I would want to start the year.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In my district, teachers have a one hour duty free lunch. If required to cover lunch, the district would be contractually required to pay teachers for that time.
     
  16. christie

    christie Rookie

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    As someone who doesn't have my own class, but does have lunch duty, I think the principal is right in this case. In my school, there are two people in the cafeteria for 3-4 classes. Having a teacher sitting at the table with them for that first week makes a huge difference. Our principal doesn't require this, but many of our teachers do it anyway so they can address the small issues at the table before it becomes a bigger issue.

    I'm a specialist and I serve every grade in my school, so my schedule is often insane. I have lunch and planning 3 days a week. The other two days a week I have lunch after the kids leave. I don't think asking teachers to help out in the cafeteria for 5 days at the beginning of the year is a big deal, especially when it pays off big dividends throughout the rest of the year.
     
  17. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    I teach in Georgia and it is a nonunion state, so there is no union rep. When I worked in Connecticut this would NEVER happen. I would NEVER fight this or make a ruckus about it. I do see a benefit eating with the students the first DAY but the WHOLE week? The start of the year is so draining. I just really do not think it is fair to have such a policy in place. But I guess I can endure a week!
     
  18. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I'm divided. In and of itself, eating with the kids at the beginning of the year in order to teach cafeteria behavior seems like a great idea.

    But I also hate teacher martyrdom and the slippery slope of doing stuff "for the childreeeen!"

    I suppose, were I in this case, I'd gripe about it to colleagues and then be over that by the end of the first day, but I would support any teacher who wanted to bring it up as inappropriate for a requirement.
     
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  19. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    In my previous district, my principal had us eating lunch with the students during STAAR and I hated that. After months of having Big Brother circling and us all being criticized on why we can't magically have them all passing then walking around actively monitoring we have to eat with them as well and eat our own?

    They didn't even account for most of us having a hot lunch and no one being there for us to heat up our food until one of the APs came out of the office to watch the students in the cafeteria.

    When I was in SPED, my students had to follow the STAAR schedule and we ate with the 5th graders. They tested the students straight through then they ate lunch when the required 4 hour block was finished. The extra timers got lunch then kept going and the cafeteria had every non-teacher on deck to supervise lunch while teachers had their duty free lunch.

    It irked me on how was I suppose to be watching all students to make sure no one is giggling or talking and trying to eat my own lunch as well. I never understood stopping them for lunch then going back to testing.

    I'd rather eat lunch with them the 1st week and have my duty free lunch during testing. We're already watching them like a hawk with that pressure then we can't even breathe for 30 minutes and eat in peace? No.
     
  20. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I should clarify my comments about being in a union... Technically-speaking, teacher unions are prohibited in my state, as well. We do, however, have associations that teachers commonly refer to as "the union" in some schools, even though it's not really a union. I guess what I served as was technically an association rep, not a union rep. Our association had negotiated a duty-free lunch with the district administration, and it was written into our contract. When our building admin gave us an occasional duty during our duty-free lunch period, as the association rep, I was asked to speak with administration about this. I did, and they removed the duty. It was only a small, occasional duty that would rarely come up, but it went against our contract, and teachers were angry about being asked to do it. We had staff who were hired specifically for lunch and recess coverage, so the very minor duty our admin wanted teachers to do fell to the lunch/recess supervisors or the admin themselves instead.

    In my current school (in the same state with associations, not unions), we don't have staff for lunch/recess coverage. Specialists cover those as part of their daily schedule. There are occasions when they aren't at school or have a meeting that conflicts with their duty. In that case, it falls to the teachers to cover. We are guaranteed a 20 minute duty-free lunch. Since lunch/recess, combined, lasts 40 minutes, we are often pulled to cover either lunch or recess, because it still allows us to get 20 minutes to ourselves in. I hate doing it, but I don't complain. The way I see it, it's just part of being a member of the school community. I don't see it as doing it "for the children". I see it as sucking it up, coming together, and making sure that, as a school, we make sure what needs to get done gets done... just how many others in professional positions sometimes have to throw in a little extra work to make sure the job gets done. Sometimes I think we, teachers, give ourselves a bad reputation (to the general public) when we whine about missing a lunch here or there or having to stay late for a meeting one day or something else extra like that. Yes, we have contracts in most cases, and sometimes things that need to get done go against that contract. Yes, we don't get paid enough for what we do and what we put up with. But, we fight to be seen as and treated as professionals, and then we complain when we have to roll up our sleeves and do a little extra work. I think we're just working against ourselves when we do that. I know this probably isn't a popular opinion, but it's my opinion.
     
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  21. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Oh no, would never happen at my school. We do have unions, so this would never be attempted.

    However, I worked at private schools where I had no breaks and had to cover lunch as well. I could barely get to the bathroom. I had to eat as I was "supervising." Quite frankly, it was a nightmare. Teachers have a very stressful job and need a time to decompress and see other adults. Also, I was a new teacher when I had to do this. I could not handle this now. I actually do sit down with a group and eat at lunch. We don't talk about school. It is a much needed break!

    I would see how other teachers feel. I'm sure you are not the only one to feel this way.

    To bella84, I see what you are saying. However, our staff already goes above and beyond on many things. We've had difficult contract disputes and our salaries and benefits have been frozen and reduced for many years. Our overpaid administrators sit in their air conditioned offices and type emails about new pointless directives, while teachers are in the trenches actually working. Truthfully, half of our admin. staff is never in the building and the other are hiding. I'm sure that these people never miss a lunch. In reality, I cannot even say how many times a teacher on my floor has almost missed lunch due to a student issue. We never complain about that because of course, we are there for the students. However, to be told that you have to give up your entire lunch for a set period while goes against the state is just wrong in my opinion.
     
  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  23. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Personally, I get really irritated when told I "have" to do something that isn't normally required. I actually think it's a pretty cool idea to eat lunch with the kids the first week, but I'd also be annoyed to have the principal command it without any teacher input. Maybe I have problems with authority. It's a personal issue haha.

    We get asked a lot to do things "for the kids" or "just this week" and I feel like we are really disrespected in that way. No one thinks about what teachers want/need. We'll be told things like, "lunch will be in your rooms for the next two days" or "prep is cancelled today for XYZ reason" when there is a pretty obvious way to get around needing to do that. It's not bad when it happens once, but it happens a lot at our school.

    And, we have no union, so there's no protection, and anyone who says something to admin is viewed as negative or a complainer... so teachers just complain to each other instead. It creates a negative work environment. I wish admin would ask for input when possible.

    Anyway, OP, I'd be upset but probably wouldn't say anything. I don't know that it would be beneficial for you to complain, and like others have said, it's not a hill I'd want to die on.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
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  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    And this is why some state politicians try to minimize/bust unions. It's about control. And those in union states need to understand the importance of our strong associations.
     
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  25. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do think that this thing is the sort of slippery slope that we all need to worry about. I mean, haven't we all read the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books?

    I am all for rolling up my sleeves and working hard. I once received what my school jokingly referred to as the "sexy award" for "Always Going Above and Beyond", as the inscription states. I come in an hour and a half before contract time most days so that I can get everything ready for my students and meet whatever needs they have. I have a special program and special services that I provide to students every day before other teachers even arrive on campus, and I don't get paid extra for this. I do it because I want to do it for my students. It's voluntary. If my admin decided that I must do these things, I would feel like pushing back. I have a contract and it stipulates that I will do X duties in exchange for Y pay. Those terms have been negotiated and agreed upon by both parties. If admin wants to change the terms of our contract, then they can compensate me fairly. That's the professional and right thing to do.

    In this situation, I'd be happy to have lunch with the kids for a few days to help show them the ropes. I would expect to be compensated for that extra duty, though, because it infringes upon my contractual right to a duty-free lunch. Any admin that doesn't recognize that is wrong. They are also contributing to problems with low morale and teacher burnout. Smart admins recognize that if they don't feed the teachers, the teachers will eat the students.
     
  27. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I also give a lot of my own extra time. The problem is that it becomes expected and/or the norm. When it becomes expected, I stop wanting to do it. I agree, it's a slippery slope.
     
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  28. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I work in a small school. We all wear more than one hat. Sometimes we have to do something besides our assignment. We are in Fla so a strong union is nothing we know about. But we work as a team with our P and she recognizes that in how she treats us. Adversarial relationships at school sites benefit no one and certainly not kids. My experience the last few decades is that the REAL problems for teachers are coming from the state level. District and school level are just the bearers of bad news and killing that messenger is pointless.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'll add that, for me anyway, compensation doesn't necessarily have to be in the form of additional money on my paycheck. Admin buying lunch for us on the days we have to eat with students, or giving us comp time, or some other thing that is both worth giving up my duty-free lunch and demonstrates to me that admin respects my time and role as a professional--any of those could work. I just don't think it's fair for admin to demand that I perform an additional duty without being willing themselves to provide additional compensation of some sort to me.
     
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  30. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It'll be a cold day in hell before I eat my lunch in the cafeteria with students. If I was ordered to eat lunch with my students for the week, I'd just take them back to my classroom.
     
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  31. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Personally, after having worked in a very large district with a very strong union and both a mid-size and a small district in a state that bans teachers from unionizing and only allows associations, I prefer the latter. I hated working in the district with the strong union because I also felt like it was "us versus them" (teachers versus admin). In my small district without a real union, it feels a whole lot more like a team atmosphere, all of us banding together to get the job done. The climate is better, and, although we're often asked to do extras without monetary compensation, people seem much happier to be there. While they can't offer compensation for every "extra" they ask or require us to do, our administrators make sure that we know we're valued and appreciated through their actions and words. I never want to go back to a district with a real union (as opposed to an association) that is combative toward the district admin. It was a miserable climate, and I've never been happier than I am now without one. To be clear, I think the admin makes the difference in the climate, but a combative union negatively influencing the mindset of teachers sure doesn't help.
     
  32. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    Eh, I don't love extrinsic rewards and I hate clip charts, both of which are huge parts of our PBIS structures. I teach in a Title 1 school. As much as I don't really like it, we have a PBIS coach who is amazing and our kids really buy into it, so it works really well in our school.
     
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  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm sorry your union experience was negative and combative. That truly has not been the experience I've had. A strong union doesn't always mean combative yet I have unfortunately seen admin make some serious missteps for which the union was an influential part of getting grievances associated with these missteps corrected. In order to do that, our union leadership maintains a good relationship with admin, advocates for members' contracted work conditions, counsels members who might be treading into problems and promotes the good we all do as a district...which reflects well on the admin too!
     
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  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  35. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  36. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    I agree although that would never happen where I am. Only 3 times a year we "eat lunch" with the kids. 3 half days, (2 Parent Teacher Conference days and the last day of school). There's no recess those days so we sit in the lunchroom with them for 15 mins. Mind you they give us our duty free lunch after the kids are dismissed those days.
     

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