One of the many concerns of public education begins with the letter H. H equals the concern of the children’s home lives.
Thankfully, I have never been placed in the position where I believed that one of my students was being abused or harmed. However, I have known of some less than desirable home living situations.
I have had children come to me each day covered in filth. Many of these children get up each morning either on their own or with the help of an older sibling. Mom or dad is still in bed and does not see what the children look like or wear when they leave for school.
We have had children come to school in shorts and sandals on some of the coldest days of the year.
I also have students that have no clue who will be picking them up in the afternoons or whose house they will be spending the night at. Some of the children take turns living with mom, dad, grandma, aunts, uncles, stepparents, and mom’s or dad’s boyfriends and girlfriends.
The children cannot remember at which house they left their backpack or who had their reading book last. They struggle with who to make the mother’s day card for or who to give the Christmas ornament to as a gift.
When I grew up, your mom was your mom and your dad was your dad. Today, some children are so confused about the identity of their caretakers. It is amazing to hear some of the children explain to me who helped them with their homework the night before. They have ‘live-ins’ with them and they are uncertain about what label to give them.
I have students’ BEAR books that are rarely ever touched and notes will remain intact for days. The child’s work that is sent home on Friday is usually still there for the next Friday that rolls around. It is only removed when I remind the child to show his parents his work. I can only imagine the let down that he receives when he does.
I have children in my room each year that I would love to give a better life to. However, that is simply impossible. They have clothing, food, and shelter. Yet there is so much more that they need. Although I can not give them the love they need to receive from home, I do my best to make sure that they know each and every day that they are loved and wanted at school.