Lunchtime learning encourages student engagement

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Aasha Sendhil cub writer

Teachers typically use lunch as their alone time, their chance to talk to colleagues or their participation in faculty meetings. However, when she is not in faculty meetings, math teacher Heather Klein enjoys spending those 40 minutes of lunchtime with her students.

“I like [my classroom] to just be a warm, inviting atmosphere so kids can come chat [and] hang out, so you know them more as people and not just your students,” Klein said.

High school is not solely about education. It is also a place where kids are able to feel a part of a community and enjoy spending time with their friends. Klein allows her students to enjoy this aspect of school in her classroom.

“A lot of times, kids just come in to use the room, which is fine,” Klein said.

“Ms. Klein’s classroom does beat the heat of the main building patios,” freshman Joshua Neidleman said. “When I don’t have band rehearsals during lunch, I like to talk to my friends in her [Klein’s] room because she lets us and it is a nice, easy going environment to be in.”

Neidleman is not the only student who believes Klein creates a relaxed atmosphere.

“I like to go to Ms. Klein’s classroom because that is a classroom I feel very comfortable to learn in and socialize in,” Rashti said.

Not only does Klein create a comfortable environment for her students to socialize in, but she also ensures that her students feel confident to let her know if they do not understand any new concepts.

“I think she really cares about our education because when we are learning difficult topics in geometry she encourages us to speak up if we don’t understand the material, and that we always have lunchtime to come to her for help,” Neidleman said. “I know that some of my friends feel a little uncomfortable asking for extra help, so they do the best they can on their own.”

Klein is aware of this issue, so she makes it her mission to show her students that they should not be afraid to ask for help.

“It is always a little nerve-wracking asking a teacher for help because you think that you disappoint them by not understanding the information that they are trying to teach you,” Rashti said.

Klein does not want her students to feel discouraged from asking questions and tries to create a safe space for them to learn and thrive, and her students are aware of this.

“I don’t usually visit Ms. Klein’s classroom during lunch too often, but knowing that she cares about us [her students] is something that I appreciate a lot because I feel that not many teachers express that,” Rashti said.

Although Rashti understands that all teachers care for their students, she thinks the underlying issue is that not all teachers tell their students that they care for them.

“Of course all teachers want their students to feel safe at school, but I think Ms. Klein emphasizes that more than others,” she said.

“When they have a place to go [where] they feel safe and secure, it’s an awesome thing that I’m glad I can do for them,” Klein said.

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