Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaching Restaurant Etiquette: Real Life Experience

This year, I had an opportunity to participate in University Days for the first time in my teaching career. The purpose of University Days is to give students an opportunity to sign up for and participate in various activities that interest them. Each teacher in the community offers different courses and conducts the class. I was excited to offer a course in restaurant etiquette.

My room, converted into a fancy restaurant
My students got a kick out of the Minnie Mouse and Dora the Explorer (not pictured) place settings.
I told them that this is what happens when you have a two-year old daughter at home and have left over paper goods from  birthday parties!

My first order of business was to transform my classroom into a "fancy" restaurant. Students lined up in the hallway and I played the role of the hostess. Once students were seated, we then watched several video clips and discussed the rules of etiquette in a restaurant. Students  also learned about sales tax and the reasoning behind leaving a tip. Next, students took time to view a menu, decide what they were going to order, and figure out the sales taxes and a 20% tip. Some of them said, "Well, I only have $1 left, so that's all I'm going to leave for a tip."  You know that wasn't going to fly! We discussed the importance of leaving a good tip and even watched an inspirational video clip from The Ellen DeGeneres show.

 After the lesson, it was  time for role-play! A few students pretended to be servers while their classmates were the restaurant patrons. They had to practice proper etiquette as they placed their order, waited to be served, pretended to eat their meal, paid their bill, and left a tip.

Older students enjoy and learn from role-play

Then it was time for real life application. The students, my chaperons, and I boarded the bus and headed to House of Pizza. Each student placed his or her own order, paid his or her own bill, and left a tip. Some of the students decided that the waiter did such a good job that they wanted to leave more than a 20% tip. They made comments like, "I want to be a good tipper," and "He did such a good job! He had to take care of ALL of us!" They even applauded for him before we left.
Real life application-students practice restaurant etiquette at House of Pizza
The server and hostess complimented my students' decorum multiple times. I was incredibly proud of them.  Middle school students in a Title 1 district sometimes get a bad rap when it comes to social situations, but my lovelies did a great job of dispelling all the negative stereotypes. This goes to show that ALL students can learn---they just have to be taught!

Are you interested in conducting a restaurant etiquette lesson with your students? You can grab my FREE lesson here. ENJOY!

Happy Teaching!