Teachers Give their Take on Power Lunch

For many students, power lunch is something new. Freshmen and sophomores have never experienced it. Students spend power lunches eating their food, meeting with teachers, working on homework, or meeting with clubs. 

Ms. Hillary Switzer, English teacher, said that the “ultimate goal of power lunch” is to have students decompress with friends, get academic support, or engage with peers in their chosen club. Dr. Eric Cochran, building principal, said, “It gives all students an equal opportunity to participate in clubs, as there are some who cannot stay after school.” 

However, as a result of some students not experiencing power lunch, they are not aware of how to behave properly. Sometimes the halls sound less like a high school and more like an elementary school recess with little kids who just learned cuss words and want to sound cool by trying them out,” History teacher Mr. Mark Newton said. 

Some students choose to use their given “free” time in an irresponsible way. Teachers have to spend time babysitting some students instead of getting time for themselves to decompress and get work done. 

Power lunch has both pros and cons,” Dr. Cochran said. “In some ways, it gives the teachers some time to get work done that they cannot get at any other time during the school day. On the other hand, it also does create some stress knowing that we are turning the entire building over to our student body for 50 minutes. The good news is that our students mostly do the right thing and they get a lot of benefits from this time,” 

Another issue that power lunch brings about is finding individual students. “It can be hard if we are trying to find students,” said Mrs. Susan Merz, secretary for Junior Class Principal. “When a parent calls and needs to get their students out, sometimes we don’t know where they are and that could be a problem in an emergency.”

As a result of thousands of students having the freedom to roam the buildings, teachers have responsibilities and duties during this time. Dr. Fick, Junior Class Principal said, “They provide clubs for students, supervise the weight room, open up music rooms and provide music instruction. The art teachers open up their rooms for students to work on art projects. They staff the writing and math lab to support students in writing and math. Teachers hold office hours where students can get direct support.”

When few students don’t make good choices, “There are consequences,” Dr. Fick said, “Anything from a mild redirection to loss of privileges to participate in power lunch, to something more serious.” Of course, it does depend on the situation, but there are a variety of possible consequences. 

Overall, the majority of teachers enjoy power lunch and for most students, it is a helpful time during the day for emotional well-being.