Lunch and Learn Jail

Photo Credit:

Emma Perlstein, Staff Writer


The bell rings. Third set is out! It is time for the part of the school day that you have been anticipating since you stepped on the bus: Lunch and Learn. Yet, for some underclassmen, Lunch and Learn isn’t anticipated – it’s dreaded.

Out of an abundance of caution in regards to the pandemic, school faculty have decided to require ninth and tenth-grade students to report to an assigned Learn classroom during Lunch and Learn, either for the duration of Learn 1 or Learn 2. Typically, this arrangement is only experienced by freshmen, but the administration has decided that since the sophomores did not have the chance to experience Lunch and Learn properly last year, they, too, would benefit. In the mind of teachers, designating a classroom for students to go to helps them in creating the habit of utilizing this time for meeting with teachers, getting ahead on work, or studying with a small group.

Several problems arise with this new arrangement (or more accurately, entrapment). What is the point of Lunch & Learn if all we are doing is being locked away in a classroom, only allowed out with a specific pass? The reality of it is this: new mandated Learn contradicts the “freedom” aspect of the one hour a day we get to meet one-on-one with our teachers.

Additionally, many students are assigned to a Learn that does not align with the Learns of the teachers they need to meet. To put this into perspective, imagine you are assigned to a classroom during Learn 1 and are asked to meet with a teacher that also has Learn 1. Therefore, you cannot meet during your allotted lunchtime. Now, seeing your teacher is possible, but an unnecessary hassle during a time meant for seeing teachers. You must ask for a pass, show it to your assigned Learn teacher as a form of attendance, and eat lunch at neither your ideal nor general lunch-time. Even when a teacher’s Learn aligns with a student’s lunch, they are then forced to choose between eating and receiving academic support. Many students see this process as stress-inducing, and would much rather prefer to have full independence with their time. 

It’s no secret that teenagers like being trusted and independent. Many adults expect that rebellion is instinctive for teenagers, but in reality, it’s much more of a retaliation to when we feel isolated and trapped, the exact feelings created by this new Lunch and Learn arrangement. While it may sound dramatic, this new obligation goes against our human nature.  

One final thing that Harriton’s underclassmen dislike about this new restriction is signing in to our Learn classroom at the beginning of class each day with a google form. Why not use the standard PowerSchool attendance used in all our other classes? Why must we further complicate an already complex system?

Lunch and Learn was supposed to be a time of the day where we could decompress and receive assistance from teachers, and though my experience so far has been limited, I have no doubt that when the Learn assignment mandate is lifted, it will be. The great news: this will not be a permanent year-long endeavor and students will be given the opportunity to join juniors and seniors in the normal Lunch & Learn schedule soon enough. As for now, be patient, students, we will get our original dream for the one hour of independence soon.