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The Tide Online » Featured, Op-Ed, Uncategorized » On Duty or Off Duty

On Duty or Off Duty

By Courtney Couillard

Social Studies teacher Lindsay Detroia on duty in the cafe. Photo courtesy of Meaghan Dow.

While enjoying my peanut butter sandwich the other day at lunch, I heard the faint sounds of heels clicking on the porcelain floor for the café. I turned my head to see what was causing the noise and saw Dean Kimberly Stephens waving a folder at me until she reached my table to sit down. She began to tell me she had an idea—introducing a refinement program to Dover High School.

I listened to her spill her idea to me while trying to think of why she was taking her time to tell me about it. There were more than a hundred other students that she could be talking to about an ASI they received or how they need to stop skipping class.

However, I realized the reason she was telling me her plan was because she simply wanted my opinion on the project; she was not Dean Stephens at this point, just a person seeking advice.

As we’ve all recognized, administration and teachers hang on the corners of the cafeteria like freshmen at a school dance due to the newly imposed duties for teachers. While prescribed a time for monitoring students, the time of the day can also be a social period for both students and teachers. Teachers are humans, and we should be able to view them as such instead of as only authority figures.

I’m not recommending that we have an influx of teachers’ pets flocking to the faculty in lunch, but if you see them and want to get to know them, lunch is the time to do it. I’ve spent time talking to Dean Mike Perez about how chicken nuggets are made, or Social Studies teacher Paul Harkins about his newly released album, each time getting to know them for more than just their title as administrator or teacher.

And if I’ve learned something about the administration in the past four years at DHS, it’s that they would rather spend a lunch conducting social experiments and catching up with students than reprimanding them. I know it’s not always “cool” to be eating lunch with a teacher, but they care about us and just want to see how we’re doing rather than yelling at us to pick up a leftover tray.

Teachers recognize that this our time to take a break from school, and some have told me that they tend to just hang back and let students socialize. They know we would much rather spend time with our friends than continue a discussion on the Civil War from class.  However, they also said they appreciate when students feel comfortable enough to talk to them about non-school related topics.

We shouldn’t limit ourselves in terms of the people we have conversations with, though. It’s important we have people to talk to, but we shouldn’t just be talking about insignificant, lackluster topics at all times. According to The Confidante Study, “the number of people saying there is no one with whom they discuss important matters nearly tripled in one year.”

Another factor to consider is that we have different conversations with different people. Laurie David, author of the book “Family Dinner,” proposed that “a big part of the challenge is teaching [students] how to have a real conversation, not a texting conversation.” I definitely would not send Emojis to my math teacher, but real conversation can be a fruitful break from my stream of mindless texts.

The best conversations amongst people can happen while breaking bread and I don’t think lunch should be an exception. Take the time to look past the chalk in your math teachers hand and see them in a different light with a sandwich instead. Our faculty knows more than just how to simplify an equation, or construct the perfect five paragraph essay; I challenge you to find out what else they know today at lunch.

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Filed under: Featured, Op-Ed, Uncategorized

One Response to "On Duty or Off Duty"

  1. Kaitlyn says:

    I was a part of that chicken nuggs conversation. I feel like a celebrity. Good times, good times.

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