How To Eat Your Lunch (An Elementary Student’s Guide)

-Eat the white filling out of your oreos, then give the cookie portion to whoever wants it. Chances are, you’ll have plenty of takers.

-Take the “peeling” off your hot dog and eat that first, then eat the rest.

-Sit on top of your desk to eat. Food definitely tastes better that way.

-By all means, don’t put a spoon in your lunch. Make sure your mom doesn’t put a spoon in your lunch. Ask the teacher for a spoon. What are teachers for, anyway, if they are not spoon dispensers?

-Oh, that’s right—teachers are good for a few other things too, such as unscrewing stubborn lids, opening tight packages, and cleaning up spills.

-Tell as many far-out stories as you possibly can while eating your lunch.

-Always bring a whoopie pie in your lunch even though you don’t like whoopie pies, because you can give it to your friend who loves whoopie pies.

-Be sure to eat dessert first.

-If you are a boy, don’t waste more time eating than is absolutely necessary. Just wolf that food down already so that you have time to play soccer before the bell rings.

-Exclaim over your friends’ lunches as much as possible: “Eew! You have tomatoes on your sandwich? I hate tomatoes!”
“Yummy! You have chocolate pudding! Please may I have a bite?”

-Say all kinds of funny things so that your teacher is inwardly howling with laughter by the time lunch is over.

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Schoolroom Funnies

Did I mention that my children are cute and funny? You get comedy every day when you teach lower elementary grades. The sad thing is that it’s easy to get so used to it that you forget to enjoy it. This year I want to remember to enjoy the sweet and funny moments, and I thought you might enjoy them too.

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Student (brimming with enthusiasm): “This is the best day of school in this whole year so far!”

Miss Beiler (pleased that her student is enjoying school): “What makes you think so?”

Student: “Because it’s just so much fun, and we have music class today, and us boys had a fun soccer game this morning before the bell rang.”

I am not the music teacher, nor did I have anything to do with the soccer game. So much for an ego trip for me:).

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We only had school until noon on the first day, so the first time we ate lunch at school was on the second day. After I explained the rules and procedure for lunch break, one of the boys raised his hand and asked, “Do we need to sit down to eat?”

I replied with my normal policy that if you eat inside you must sit at your desk to eat, but if you eat outside it doesn’t really matter (because the birds and bugs will take care of those dropped crumbs outside). We dismissed for lunch, and I joined a group of girls under a shade tree in the school yard.

A little while later the second grade teacher laughingly directed my attention to my boys, who were eating lunch under another tree. There they were, all five of them, eating lunch while standing or crouching in semi-standing positions. “You see, last year I always had a rule that they had to stay sitting to eat lunch,” said Miss Gehman.

Human nature is a hilariously foolish thing, isn’t it?

The novelty of eating lunch while standing up has since worn off. In fact, the boys started eating lunch inside at their desks, “Because if you eat outside you have to come all the way inside to put your lunchbox away, but if you eat inside you can just put your lunchbox on the shelf when you’re done, and you have more time to play.” (If you need to know about efficient time management, just ask an eight-year-old boy).

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At our school, all of the students and teachers are paired up as prayer partners. Prayer partners are supposed to pray for each other throughout the school year, and it’s traditional to give each other little notes and gifts occasionally. It’s a great way to promote interaction among different grades. Last week one day we had prayer partner lunch time, in which all of us ate lunch with our prayer partners in order to get to know them better. I had a good time chatting with the darling little first grade girl who is my prayer partner. It made my day when she was talking about her teacher and then asked quite innocently, “Who’s your teacher?” Our school is big enough that it’s understandable that she didn’t automatically recognize me as one of the teachers. I guess in her eyes I could pass for an eighth grader:).

I Forgot. . .

. . . how much third graders don’t know, and how I need to explain every. little. thing.
. . . how completely darling third graders can be.
. . . how tired my voice gets from talking all day.
. . . what a thrill I get out of teaching a history class.
. . . what an immense volume of sheer energy resides within an eight-year-old body.
. . . how intense it is to be prepared and alert and responsible for every minute of a school day.
. . . how exhilarating and exhausting it is to run around with 14 third graders during recess.
. . . how many cute and funny things I get to hear every day.
. . . what a delight it is to have 14 pairs of eyes glued on me during story time.
. . . how much Weavertown School is part of my roots, and how much it has shaped me as a person.
. . . how wonderful it is to have children that I get to call mine for nine months.

It’s (mostly) good to be back in this role that I left six years ago, though it still feels surreal. Sometimes I wonder if this is really my life I’m living or somebody else’s :).