Do you allow students to eat in your classroom during instruction?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Do you allow students to eat in your classroom during instruction?

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A large number of teachers took this poll and the majority reported that they do not allow students to eat in the class during instructional time. In fact, more than twice as many teachers responded "nos" than answered "yes". It would be interesting to find out if the teacher's would be more inclined to allow eating if they limited what types of food their students could eat. Should noisy foods be allowed? The crinkling of bags and wrappers would certainly be a distraction to the rest of the class. How about junk food? With childhood obesity at an all time high, do teachers try to prevent what types of food their students eat, especially during instructional time? The image of Johnny opening a package of Little Debbie's snack cakes while the students around him watch and salivate keeps coming to mind. It's hard pay attention when all you can think about is how delicious someone else's snack looks.

Paying attention is really at the heart of the matter. If you can't focus because you're drooling over someone else's snack cake, then you can't focus if you're stomachs empty either. Too many children come to school without receiving proper nutrition because their families simply can't afford it. Many schools address this problem by providing lunches and snack foods to students, and if they can't wait until lunch then eating during instructional time is the only option.

The other thing to keep in mind is that children are always growing. Their food requirements change depending on whether they are undergoing a more rapid growth stage. The child that never ate during class two months ago might be ravenously hungry now. Even in more affluent areas where providing children with enough food is not a concern, allowing them to eat when they are hungry helps them maintain focus on the lessons they are being taught.

As the ultimate leader of the classroom teachers decide whether eating is acceptable. The distraction it poses is very obvious but the lack of focus due to hunger is also something to consider. Thankfully most schools have set break times that are enough for the majority of students. Watching someone slurp their soup or munch their way through a bag of chips is probably not the way to go.