9 May

“The persons who are selected for the Fine Dining will be escorted by four of our male teachers. They are Mr Harriott, Mr Thomas, Mr T. Allen and L. Allen” I announced over the intercom. The scream that followed that announcement had me grinning from ear-to-ear. They loved it. I loved it. The staff loved it.

Background to Fine Dining

As I sat with my executive member brainstorming for ideas for the next beneficial social activity to present to the girls that could further enhance the student-teacher relationship, it hit me. Fine Dining. Expose them to social etiquette. It is an all girls institution. Perfect idea. I pitched it. The executive loved it. The rest of the staff loved it. So it was off to the principal for approval.

Principal: You know Ms Reid, I like the idea but…(she paused) but I am concerned the girls may misconstrue it as something else.

Me: Sister, I fully understand your concern but they will not be alone with you the teachers. all of us will be there including you. We will transform the stage in the Hall into our restaurant. We will do it during the lunch hour. That way the other students get a chance to see and learn.

Picture of what was in my head as I made my pitch to the principal

Picture of what was in my head as I made my pitch to the principal

I could see her brain working through what I said.

“Some of these girls may never experience this again in their lifetime. We are sending out girls. We need to equip them as best as we can. Just trust us with this Sister. We will start with only four girls” I continued

“Okay. Go ahead. Put something in writing for me first and then you can proceed” she conceded.

I did not hesitate. Within thirty minutes I presented it to her. It was then on to creating tickets for sale. Yes! For sale. We needed funds to offset the cost of the luncheon. So do not judge us. It was a minimal cost of JA$50.

The sale of the ticket did not match the scream that was given when the announcement was made. The first week the sale of tickets was moderate. By the second week, no one was buying. The girls said they were not interested anymore. I guess the novelty wore off. I was determined to stage it. Even if it was one girl. In the third week, we made the draw. Four names were selected. Students screamed at the selection.

Now it was time .

The Scare

Collage of decor team at work

Collage of decor team at work

The decor team was in place and plans far advanced regarding the transformation of venue. The teachers who volunteered to be waiters/waitresses were ready. The brass band and selector were ready. The male teachers were ready. All was in place and ready except the girls. I am not kidding. I met with them they day before the event for final briefing. I was not prepared for the mountain of excuses I got:

“Miss I don’t want to do it again. Mi cyan bodda yaa man (Reads: I can’t be bothered)

“Miss, mi nuh like them uptown ting deh (Reads: I do not like those up town things)

“Miss, I have nothing appropriate to wear. Is pure short clothes I have and I don’t go to church”

…and the excuses kept coming.

I was stunned. Being the good teacher I think I am addressed each concern and tried massaging their egos. (All this time in my mind I was screaming : “are these girls really serious?”) Three of the four were adamant they didn’t want to do it.  I realized they were afraid because they didn’t know how to function in such setting.  Despite my best efforts to reassure them, they remained resolute. I asked them to volunteer someone else since it was they who purchased the tickets. They were off in a flash.

While they were gone, I called another member of the committee and informed her of our dilemma. Of all the things, I did not anticipate this to have been a challenge.  When I was that age, I would have been excited about dining with my teacher. But this is a different era. The girls returned shortly with their replacements, then disappeared. They too were afraid. But with a little massaging, they decided they would do it if they could wear uniforms and not formal attire. Agreed. Argument closed.

While in a class later that day, the replacements returned with another set of replacements. I accepted them but I got nervous. This was the third change. I was worried the girls may not show up.

Collage of decor

Collage of decor

But they did. Those four girls braved the nervousness and showed up promptly. They were beautiful. When  the lunch hour started, the remaining students saw the decor, they got jealous. As the girls were escorted to their tables by the male teachers, the room erupted with screams. The girls were excited.

“Miss, when is the next one?”

“Miss you couldn’t pick me?”

“I want to be a part of the next one”

And the comments continued.

Some of the girls dining

Some of the girls dining while some of their school mates looked on

The participating girls hardly ate. All the attention made them nervous but they smiled all the way. Though they were nervous, they enjoyed every moment of the lady like treatment that was meted out to them.

I thoroughly enjoyed their reception. I was most impressed with the fact that the students watching did not resort to unkind utterances and negative criticisms. To make them feel as part of the activity, they were allowed to vote for their favourite pair at JA$20 per vote . And man, vote they did.

They were voted as the best pair

They were voted as the best pair

It was a beautiful day for the girls. The teachers attended to their every need and made them feel special. With every deed done by the teacher for the student he escorted, the girls erupted into a scream (Pulling out chair, placing napkins in their laps, etc). They were happy to have teachers as waiters/waitresses including the principal.

Princiapal in her role as waitress...a little blurry but...

Princiapal in her role as waitress…a little blurry but…

I surveyed the scene. It was warm and pleasant. I loved the reception. I loved what I was seeing. In my mind, I was already making plans regarding the elements that can improve the next staging. That one I know will be huge.

What do you think about the teaching of fine dining and other social etiquette being taught in schools?


14 Responses to “STUDENTS FEARED FINE DINING (The Scare)”

  1. Alvin Allen May 9, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    I like this idea…exposure and experience certainly helps to influence the desire for the finer things one is exposed to. Keep exposing more of these downtown ladies to “up town” life

    • rainereid May 9, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

      Thanks for your opinion Alvin. Experience and exposure sure goes a far way in shaping these ladies. I don’t think I want to classify them as downtown and uptown ladies. It’s about exposure. If you are not exposed to it, regardless of where you are from, then you will not know. That is why the hidden curriculum in a school is soo important.

  2. Marsha Facey May 9, 2015 at 10:28 pm #

    I love this.. Different in a sense but I see it as effective.. Jealous should have been there now.

    • rainereid May 10, 2015 at 1:47 am #

      Thanks for sharing Marsha. Yes it is effective

  3. Chantal Holmes May 10, 2015 at 1:40 am #

    Fine dining gives the ladies the flexibility to function effectively in a formal setting, not only the informal that they are generally accustomed to and thus is a commendable idea. However, it continue to be something that is interesting and exciting not an activity that will eventually be forced upon the students, they have enough mandatory graded assignments to contend with on a daily bases.

    • rainereid May 10, 2015 at 1:50 am #

      Thanks for sharing Chantol. You make a good point. It indeed not something to be forced upon students. If forced on them, it will lose its effectiveness. Creative ways must be applied to generate interest. I agree they have tons of graded assignments that takes priority but the hidden curriculum must not be overlooked

  4. Javii Dalii May 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    This is awesome! I believe this should be an ongoing event Ms.Reid. Continue shaping, molding and passing out young ladies from H.C.H.S and not just “young high school graduates.”

    Proud Past Student: Class of 2010

  5. Daneilia Whyte May 12, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    EXCELLENT. I am so intrigued by tgis idea as it is a great avenue to introduce ettiquecy to the emerging generation. I am almost jealous (this was done after I funished school : ( .

    • rainereid May 13, 2015 at 2:13 am #

      Everything could not have happened when you were there Daneilia

  6. Tata-annie September 3, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

    This seems awesome

  7. Gri May 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    impressive Dorraine, alot of these young ladies aren’t expose to chivalry, and as such is a wonderful means to teach them there is more to life than what they’re use to. This medium should be added as a curriculum and added to every classroom.

    • rainereid May 13, 2016 at 2:29 am #

      Thanks Grifton for reading and sharing. We should indeed use all media possible to expose students to these things


  1. STUDENTS FEARED FINE DINING (The Scare) | Rainereid's Educators Block - May 13, 2015

    […] STUDENTS FEARED FINE DINING (The Scare). […]

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