Saturday, March 30, 2013

When Learning is the Last Thing on a Student's Mind!

I decided to fast on Fridays for Lent. I have never fasted before, so this was as big deal for me.  I decided that I would eat something in the morning, and then eat at sunset.

I was hungry.

My stomach started growling a little before lunch.Food was on my mind the entire day.  It was hard for me to concentrate on anything but my empty stomach.But here's the difference between myself and some of the kids we teach. I had a meal waiting for me.  I could go to the store, to a restaurant, to a friends, I could eat.

I have always known that it is difficult to learn when you're hungry. I've always known it, but I have never experienced it. In reality, I still can't say I know what it feels like, because I know where my next meal is coming from. I am fortunate enough not to know what it's like to be chronically hungry.

How difficult it must be to sit in a classroom, stomach grumbling. Thank goodness for school breakfast and lunch. I know people feel this is the responsibility of the parents, but what if the parent is not, or can not provide? Should the children suffer? The weekends for these kids must be hell.

I just read an article about how unemployment in a household affects students. It's depressing how  many of our kids deal with issues that we would have difficulty dealing with as adults. Drug-addicted parents, alcoholics, sexual abuse, a myriad of issues.

All children are different. Some can learn in the face of all this, some can't. Some thrive,some shrivel up, and some act out.

If possible, I say we make an attempt to make their classroom life a little better than home. And maybe, just maybe, that will help them learn.

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