As teachers, we’re told to ensure that children understand we are their teachers and not their friends. But, what do we do about the students who have no friends?
As I strolled around lunch duty (one of my favorite times of the day), I stumbled upon one of my students sitting alone. Being the problem-solver that I try to be, of course my eyes scanned for open seats that he could sit in. When I suggested some options to him, he continued to tell me that he didn’t want to move. Now, there are certainly kids who like to be alone while they eat, and some who prefer to read or doodle as opposed to chat and play. This kid was not one of them.
For some students, lunch can be a horrible place. They feel left out, and especially in middle school, it seems as if everyone is watching YOU because you’re alone.
So, you’re probably wondering what I do about this. Do you want to know?
I sit with him.
Of course I monitor students and I walk around and I ensure that they all sign out to go to the bathroom. But I also know that I might make more of a difference in this one child’s life by acting as his friend in this moment than any other student in the cafeteria.
While the professors in college tell you to make sure to not “be friends” with students, some students will work so much harder for you and feel so much better about themselves if you show them that you’re a real human too. A human that cares about THEM! So, step (or sit!) out of your comfort zone.