The first week of teaching in New Zealand has been challenging due to the persistent rain that has limited opportunities for outdoor activities.

As I walked in and out of classrooms during breaks, I realized the importance of how teachers set up their students for success during lunchtime. A positive and supportive classroom culture is crucial for student success and well-being.

While I used to think of lunchtime as “my time” with the occasional duty, I saw a range of activities taking place during my walk around the school. Some students were watching TV, others were playing games, some were engaged in art, some were completing school work, and some were interacting with teachers. This got me thinking about the role of teachers during breaks and lunchtimes.

Should students have access to devices during lunchtime?
What is the responsibility of the teacher in providing activities for students?
How can this time be used to build relationships and foster a sense of belonging among students?
These are some of the questions that I am left with after the first week.

According to a thesis paper on students’ lunchtime experiences and belonging, peer support and student-student relationships play a significant role in students’ sense of belonging. Lunchtime activities provide an opportunity to build and strengthen these relationships, as it is a less structured space with less adult supervision. However, this loosened structure could also lead to social anxiety, uncertainty, or even bullying for some students.

4 Ways you can make lunchtime more productive.
Eat together, Learn together
Lunchtime Experiences and a sense of belonging