Does your lunch in school say anything about your character?
Recently I’ve been thinking about the different lunches I see people eating in staffrooms and wonder if it shows something of who we are, either personally or professionally.
I’ve never been one for fancy lunches: I eat a marmalade sandwich and always have done. I love the taste with its explosion of sweetness and to be honest, I love the simplicity of it when preparing lunch in the morning as it takes me less than 30 seconds to make it. It’s also an extremely cheap lunch (and I am aware that in this I am not working terribly hard to banish Scottish stereotypes).
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But what about the other options?
A few colleagues over the years have been big advocates of soup for their lunch. They love to tell you what has gone into it and how healthy it is but mostly they love everyone asking what the amazing smell is. Soup is comforting and, on reflection, many of my colleagues who like it for lunch have been warm teachers that pupils would easily approach.
There is normally one person in a staffroom who has a fancy lunch, maybe some sort of posh salmon dish or a Japanese-style noodle or even a five-bean chilli mixed with saffron rice. Most of us are jealous of this person’s lunch and can't stop asking questions about it. I’ve found that this type of luncher can often be an extrovert teacher, showing off their skills in an exuberant way, which excites pupils and makes them want to ask more questions.
There is normally always someone in the staffroom who seems to just graze. You never see them eat anything substantial – maybe a handful of nuts here or a tangerine there. This person is normally running around photocopying or marking a bundle of jotters as they eat. I’d describe the grazers I’ve met as slightly disorganised, but working hard to get on top of it.
I’ve also met a few staff who rely on school dinners to get them through lunch. They enjoy the variety on offer and the ease of not preparing it. I also enjoy watching who gets the bigger portions (some people sook up to catering staff). This approach is often favoured by easygoing teachers, the ones who take everything in their stride.
It’s perhaps a bit of a silly thought to have, but what does your school lunch say about you? Have you ever thought about it? I’m now seriously reflecting on my piece and marmalade – maybe I should up my game and create some sort of aubergine tagine. But what on earth would that reveal about me?
Adam Black is a primary teacher in Scotland who, in the New Year's Honours List, received the British Empire Medal for raising awareness of stammering. He tweets @adam_black23