The war on lunchroom noise at our elementary school continues. Yesterday, the principal told the kids that if they were not totally silent during the last few minutes of lunch every day for the next week, they would have to sit at the tables in the order in which they come into the lunchroom – that is, that their seats would be assigned, and that they could not sit with their friends from other classrooms. But if they are sufficiently silent, they will be allowed to have music played during their Friday lunch – an offer that seems strangely inconsistent with the idea that the lunchroom is too noisy.
The principal also explained that the gym classes that are scheduled in that same room could not start on time if the kids took too long to become quiet – because the kids can’t possibly be dismissed if they are not first utterly silent, even though that was never required in previous years.
Despite three years of PBIS and a year-long campaign of haranguing the kids on a daily basis to be quieter, the school apparently still thinks the kids aren’t quiet enough. Some people might take that as a reason to reconsider whether the lunchroom expectations are reasonable or necessary, especially since the older kids can remember when lunch didn’t involve having their “voice levels” constantly policed, and lunch was a much more pleasant (though still short) experience.
It should be obvious – and apparently was obvious to previous Hoover administrations – that a large group of kids eating lunch is necessarily going to make some noise, and that there is nothing to be gained from setting unrealistic expectations and then constantly harassing the children for failure to meet them.
I sent an email last night asking why the school has turned lunch into such a negative, adversarial experience, and why it is so important that there be utter silence while the lunchroom is being dismissed. Stay tuned.