One of the many things I’m less than thrilled with about the public school so far is lunch time. I’m sad to say that not much has changed since I was in school. My parents always talked about how quickly my sisters and I would eat. We were trained from our very first day of school to eat as fast as possible. Some habits are hard to break and this is one legacy from my school days that I could do without.
Not surprisingly, it’s not a skill I want my son to learn.
I’m trying to reserve judgement, but when the teacher says “Eating on a time limit is something that Mr. J is probably not used to,” I’m feeling a little less than generous. Yes, when you go out in the world and get a job in an office (or wherever) you do have a specific timeframe within which you need to eat, but I still had time to chat with my coworkers and eat more than a sandwich. I’m glad that we talked about him eating his sandwich first last night as that’s the most nutrient (energy) dense thing in his lunchbox. So, I guess that’s something.
Did I mention that his teacher also gave him extra time in the classroom to eat?
They have an hour break in their day. A 30 minute recess followed by a 30 minute lunch period. I was thinking that didn’t sound so bad, but I suspect travel time (lining up, putting playground equipment away, unpacking, re-packing your lunch) is included which probably decreases the actual time kids spend eating. It’s more than some kids get (10 minutes according to one parent), but it pales in comparison to what kids get in other countries.
That last part? How we compare to other countries…I sometimes feel like a broken record. No uber-patriots, not everything that happens in the United States is the best in the world. Often, like in the case of school lunches and student achievement, we’re not even in the running for the top spot.
They were bragging in our parent orientation meetings about how they gained 36 instructional hours by cutting down to one recess as if this was a good thing. I wasn’t impressed then and I’m even less impressed now. There are lessons we’re teaching our children about life by the way we order their school day and the amount of time (or lack there of) allocated for things imparts powerful lessons that will shape the way they live life. I’m sure the answer is that it’s up to parents to lobby for changes, but to be honest, with the state of things as they are today, it seems like a waste of time.
On a practical note I’m thinking about packing my kid a liquid lunch (only half-kidding here). At least then maybe he’d come home slightly less likely to eat everything in sight (not nailed down).