Working in education constantly reminds me of the constant struggles that occur in students lives that I do not even know about. When I am walking around the school or on duty I make it a point to speak with students. This helps me to keep in touch with the students and to get to know them in a setting that is not related to behavior or discipline.
Unfortunately I have a conversation from time to time that reminds me of just how much stress and distraction our students have to deal with on a daily basis. One such conversation was with a student that was obviously tired. When I asked the student why he was so tired he said that his grandmother is very ill. His mother has him stay up with his grandmother until she falls asleep at night because his mother has to work. There is not a father at home. He also told me that if she does not improve his family will have to move to where there is more medical help and family support. The student told me that he did not want to leave because he really likes our school.
Sadly there are countless stories such as these in schools across America. Students are not able to be just students for a variety of reasons. In the end as educators we must work with students no matter how they come to us.. We must help the student find the balance. We must use all the resources we have at our disposal as a school and as a community. We must have hard conversations with students, parents, and fellow educators about what needs to be done to help students achieve success.
Please remember that we are educating people, not making widgets. Students have emotional needs that may not always be met at home. Sometimes education requires education of the emotional as well as academic needs of our students. So the next time you have one of those student conversations and you find a student is struggling with non-academic issues, what will you do?
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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