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Lunchroom Question


Senior Member
I am very curious...do you have to eat lunch with your students in the cafeteria, or do you get a duty free lunch NOT in the school cafeteria?

At my school, the teachers eat lunch in the cafeteria. However, we do not have to sit with our kids. We eat at a "teacher table." We are still responsible for watching our kids and taking care of any necessary discipline issues. :eek:

It seems like I often read posts on the board where people are referring to being in their classroom while their kids are at lunch or grading papers/cleaning their desk during lunchtime. If you don't have to eat lunch in the cafeteria, who is watching your students while they are eating? I would love to hear what's working at other schools, so I could make some suggestions at my school!!! :p


Senior Member
lunch duty

We rotate lunchfoom duty among the 8 teachers of 2nd and 3rd gr. It also rotates with playground duty after lunch. If you have duty you eat at a teachers' table in the lunchroom with the students. If you don't have duty then you can eat wherever you want to,,, teachers' lounge, or your room...:)


Senior Member
Playground Duty?

Gee...we have to watch our kids on the playground too! That must be really nice to have some time away from your students during lunch or while they are on the playground.


Full Member
LOL! I teach at such a small (six teachers) school that we spend the entire school day with the students, including eating lunch together. I've grown fond of it, actually, as it provides a homey atmosphere. However, when I taught in a large school, I was very glad for a separate lunch period.



Senior Member
lunch monitors

Our school has lunch monitors, so we end up with 30 minute duty-free lunch. They work from probably 10:30 until 12:30 - (there are 3 lunch shifts in our building) handling discipline and making sure the kids pick up after themselves. It doesn't always work the greatest (middle school) so just before summer vacation or any time things are getting rough, the teachers are asked to volunteer their time and help the monitors. Some of us do that and some of us take our home base students back to our rooms for a private lunch to reduce the number of bodies in the cafeteria at one time.


Senior Member
lunchroom/recess duty

One of our teachers receives extra pay to supervise the cafeteria. We take turns doing recess duty - usually it is about twice a month.


Senior Member
I hate it

At my school, you either have lunch duty or recess duty. I have lunch duty, and I hate it. I would much rather supervise 20 minutes of recess than 30 minutes of eating lunch with my students. I prefer some peace and quiet when eating, and I hate seeing the way my students eat. Unfortunately, I was the newest teacher this year, and I think that's why I got stuck with it.


lunch duty

I teach in a middle school. I not only get two plan periods a day (a team plan and a personal plan) but I have a duty-free 30 minute lunch. I do not bring kids to my room to eat, either. We do after-school detentions at my school (very, very effective discipline tool--even bus riders do after-school detentions) and I will occasionally have a student ask me if they can do lunch detention in my room. As soon as I'm finished laughing, I tell them no--call your mom to make arrangements to pick you up, since you'll be missing the bus. There is no way I will let a poorly behaved middle schooler ruin MY lunch.

Teach 5

Senior Member

We have 30 minutes of duty free lunch. Parents are paid a small stipend or they can put their time toward their required volunteer hours; to monitor the lunchroom & the playground. The parents have also started a small babysitting co-op in order to allow parents with young children at home to have this duty. The nursery is right beside the teacher's lounge so we have to listen to young ones crying but it's much better than having lunch or recess duty. You can also eat in your classroom unless they are having indoor recess. That gives me extra time to plan/prepare.
We have one other 45 minute planning time per day. We do have morning & afternoon bus/supervision duties. Either 20 min. one morning per week, or everyday afterschool for 5 minutes.


duty free

It's in our contract that we get a 30 minute duty free lunch. We have our EAs watch the lunchroom. We have to do recess duty, but we rotate and I only have to do it about once a month. I eat with my kids every Friday anyway.


New Member
Paras have lunch duty

At the elementary schools where my children attended and I sub, the paras have lunch duty. The teachers come in with their students until their students are through the lunch line and then they can leave. After lunch, if it is a nice day, the students go outside for 10 minute "Run & Fun", the paras are outside with them. The teachers come outside to get their students.

Their are enough paras to provide supervision inside and outside. It really does work out well for everyone. The paras don't eat lunch with the students; they are just there to supervise in 30 minute shifts.

Ima Teacher

Senior Member
We always have a principal and at least one other person monitoring the cafeteria. The teachers do not have to eat there, nor do they have to monitor students. With that said, most teacher DO eat in the cafeteria at the "teacher's table" because there really isn't enough time to go anywhere else . . . and we don't have a lounge. (Lunch is 20 minutes.) When I did take kids to lunch, I just stayed and ate there. Of course, I also watched my kids anyway. It was just natural.

This year I don't even GET lunch. My lunch time was in my planning period. . . which means that it's NOT duty free since I have meetings then and have to eat during the meetings. Since we returned from Christmas break, I don't get to eat at all. The cafeteria is closed before I have my planning time, so I either have to bring something from home or do without. Well, if I DO want food from the cafeteria I have to send one of the KIDS to get it and then let it sit around for about 20 minutes before I can eat it.



This has been a big issue at my school! Most of the teachers want a duty-free lunch, but so far administration has not found a way to make that happen.

We have to eat in the cafeteria, though thankfully we are not required to sit at the same table as the kids. There are two "teacher" tables and we are required to sit at the one closest to our class. We do have teacher assistants on duty who circulate and take care of behavior issues, students needing to get up, etc. but we are supposed to keep an eye on our class too. Our lunch time is only 25 minutes. By the time I've gone to the bathroom, checked my box, and sometimes heated my food in the microwave, I often feel that I am swallowing my lunch whole!

I don't have a planning period everyday, either. Two Mondays per month and every Tuesday I have no planning time at all. We do have a grade level team planning every Friday that is an hour and a half long.



It's really up to us. If we have lunch duty, then we supervise during the lunch hour and eat our lunch during recess. If we don't have lunch duty, we have a choice of eating in the cafetiria at a teacher's table, eating with our students, or eating in the lounge.


couple of options

When I was up north, we took turns with lunchroom and playground duty. We had 1 hour for lunch/recess. The kids either ate and then went outside or vise versa depending on grade level.

Down here in the south, they have payed volunteers to monitor the lunchroom for our 30 minute lunch. If we want the kids to go out for recess, we take them ourselves and monitor them also.

When I first came down here, we ate in the cafeteria with our students. Lunch was 20 min. There was no time to walk them through the line, eat, go to the bathroom and check your mailbox.

When I student taught, the teachers had 1 hour of duty free lunch and got to leave the campus. They could run to the drug store, McD., or home if it was near by. Their recesses were duty free too.


Senior Member
We have a 40 minute duty-free lunch and a 20 minute duty free recess. No yard duty, no before or after school duty. During the times we are not with the kids, there are yard aides as well as one administrator out there.

Miss C

Senior Member

I have lunch duty with my kids. Teachers of younger grades also have recess with their kids. I teach 6th, so we don't have recess. However, we get a 30-45 minute break daily for library, computer, etc.


We eat in our classrooms

So, yes, we have to watch our students while they eat lunch.

We have a duty-free 30 minute lunch, per our negotiated agreement, which we get while the students are at recess, which is supervised by paid playground monitors.


Senior Member

We have a 30 minute duty free lunch (ends up being 20 minutes after getting them there and returning), but we are responsible for our own recess. I like it this way. I do think there would be far fewer problems in our lunch room if there were teachers in there. 3 out of the 5 days a week I invite my class back to the room to watch either Little House on the Prarie or The Brady Bunch on the LCD projector. They just love it. I'd have them come down every day, but I really think they need the socialization that happens at lunch.

Mrs. G

Senior Member

We have a 25 min. duty free lunch. I have campus duty every other week for 25 minutes in the morning. Our administrators and a few other non classroom teachers do cafeteria duty.


Senior Member

We do not have to eat in the lunchroom except the one day we have duty. However, as a grade level we chose to sit with each other and talk together so the person on duty is not all alone. :D
If something comes up and we cant be in there it is not a big deal, but the company is nice!


Senior Member

Well bamagirl it must be a bama thing! I too have to eat lunch with my kiddos. We do have a seperate table as well. I also have to go with them to recess.

However, we did work it out with our principal to have a duty free lunch once a week. I team up with another teacher that goes to lunch at the same time as me. One day I take her class and another day she takes mine. This may be something that you want to try out. It was simply a matter of asking permission.


Senior Member
Great Suggestions!

I agree bamateach...it definitely must be a Bama thing! I have taught in two different school systems in Bama, and the teachers were responsible for supervision of the kids during both lunch and recess at both places.

Maybe I will make a suggestion for us to team with another teacher once a week for a duty free lunch or at least recess. I know my coworkers would agree to it, but I have my doubts about my administrators! :cool: Thanks for the suggestion! If we could start with one day a week, maybe we could work up to more.


Senior Member
Lunch duty

My school is large...we have about ten classes on each grade level (1st-5th) and six self-contained special ed classes. Each grade level eats together in the cafeteria. All the BSI, ESL, Resource, and Special area teachers (teachers that don't have their own classrooms...floaters as we call them)and aides have luch duty. They also get their own duty free lunch period. Classroom teachers can eat in peace in their own classrooms or anywhere they choose. Everyone likes it because everyone will get to eat their lunch without the kids.



Hello all....

I read these posts with great interest- we eat with our kids, at the same tables. We are not allowed to have recess after lunch- we have to wait to have recess until 30 minutes before dismissal time- and we have to supervise the playground. At my school, this means that teachers are not allowed to stand together- we have to station ourselves all around the playground. I know that probably makes sense with regards to safety, but it just bothers me that we aren't trusted to do the right thing without an adminstrative commandment. At our school, the classroom teachers are driven crazy as we try to guide 20 kids through the lunch line, get them settled, get our food ready, hopefully take a quick potty break- as the music, PE, art, etc. teachers get their lunches and sail out of the cafeteria for 30 minutes of peace and quiet. Sigh.....I wish we could come up with a schedule of lunch duty- I absolutely would not mind having it, but our adminstrator is one who has the attitude, "We have done things the same way for 16 years and we are not going to change". She actually announces this at faculty meetings- as though it is a positive trait! Never mind- starting to lost focus. Good luck with your quest to enjoy a benefit almost every other profession has!