Okay, I’m going to tell you something I absolutely HATE about kindergartners that I will NOT miss this summer or any other summer- the way they eat! I realized yesterday at lunch that although three of my students have greatly improved their eating habits and have become more civilized, but the rest still eat like animals. And my class is not the worst. All three classes eat together, so I get to watch lots of other students eat!
I stay with my students during lunch time, but I’ve never eaten my lunch with them and I don’t plan to because it would seriously dampen my appetite and enthusiasm for my own food. I eat later at my desk while they are having “center time”. And don’t even start with me about “setting an example” because I can guarantee they would not be watching me anyway and they really don’t care about my example. Apparently they don’t care about anyone else’s example either, or they just aren’t getting an example at home.
Of course I think in the past few years we have gotten children who know far less about table manners than ever before because they simply don’t eat at a table- they eat most of their meals in the car! And some who eat at home do so alone- unsupervised by anyone. They eat in front of the television. They eat in their rooms. They wander around snacking out of a bag of something.
Here are some examples of what my students have done this year for fun and entertainment:
Eat off the tray without the benefit of a spoon or fork. They must watch their dog eat!
Bite “eye holes” out of a tortilla, ham slice, bread, or whatever and slap it on their face like a mask.
Mash French fries together into a chain and then attempt to hold it up and eat it from the bottom.
Flick corn, peas, cereal, or any other projectile at their neighbors.
Mix mashed potatoes and corn and gravy together to see what it looks like, but refuse to eat it.
Pour orange juice into chocolate milk and then complain that it “tastes yucky”.
Pour milk onto the tray, “just because…”
Tear all the crust off of the bread and make a pile on the table. WHO teaches them that crust is NOT part of the bread, or that it tastes any different from the rest of it????????
Eat spaghetti one strand at a time, by hand, and then rub the sauce all over their pants.
Drop pickle slices into their empty milk carton and then shake it.
Peel all the topping off their pizza, roll it up to eat it, and refuse to touch the bread.
Pick the shredded cheese off their taco and make little balls out of it.
Drop the bread from their sandwich on the floor and then ask for seconds on the ham and cheese.
Tap their neighbor with their spoon, which of course is covered with pudding.
Have a contest with their neighbor to see who can blow cereal pieces the farthest across the table.
Have a contest to see who can eat the fastest.
Have a contest to see who can make the most holes in their tortilla without it falling apart.
Have a contest to see who can drive Mrs. Maurer crazy…
Add those to talking with a mouth full of food, not using a napkin, burping loudly, etc. Food fun!
So…the homework for this summer is “learn how to eat like a civilized person”. Practice, practice, practice. I know it won’t really happen, but I can dream. And by the end of summer I’ll be ready to tolerate the cafeteria chaos all over again.