Recently, I had my first book reading at a nearby school. I was both excited and nervous on how it would go but the kids were so much fun! I read the book to 30 plus kids in a class along with teachers and staff. It was enlightening to see the kids’ watching with big eyes, taking in all of the emotions of Super Kena. This school happens to have a few kids that are hard of hearing and even had a child with peanut allergies. What amazed me the most are the talented staff members that talk while signing almost everything they say. It was like they didn’t even know they were doing it. It just came so natural to them. I could tell that they love their jobs and put their heart and soul into every child they work with.
As the mom of a teacher, I feel like they really don’t get much credit for what they do. I know some of you will say “they get the summer off” but I’m afraid if they didn’t get those 10-12 weeks of summer vacation, we would see even less people wanting to teach, period. It’s not easy wrangling 20 or more kids in a class, let alone trying to get them to focus or be quiet. I’m sure they have days that they feel like they didn’t get much accomplished academically but sometimes these kids need to know they’re loved first and foremost. Some of them could’ve been up all night worrying when they’d see their next meal, or who will take care of them if the one parent they have in their life gets hurt or caught with drugs. I don’t think the average citizen in our city would ever guess that some of those things are actually going on behind our school doors. They have no idea that some of the classes actually have homeless kids in them, that don’t get much to eat or know where they’ll be living tomorrow. They don’t understand that a few are being raised by grandparents because they’re the only relative healthy enough to take them. I know how much one little granddaughter can wear you out, I can’t imagine trying to raise little ones every day at my age or older. But I also know that I would do the exact same thing to be there for them if their parents weren’t able to. Some of these kids dread school holidays because for them it means not getting a breakfast and lunch each of those days. School, for them, is their “safe” place and who knows what they see when they are home all day long. Local citizens wouldn’t have any idea that on school breaks, these kids have to ration the food in the house to last until school resumes. I can’t imagine being able to focus on schoolwork if your stomach is growling from not getting supper the night before. It’s a sad state of affairs that children in the U.S. are going hungry and some live in deplorable conditions. I’ve heard some people grumble about giving money to the food bank for children that are going hungry. They don’t believe it’s happening but ask any local teacher and you will find out differently. Some of these kids are there one day and gone the next because a parent is in trouble with the law. They don’t know where they’ll be living day to day, let alone getting their homework done or working on a class project. That’s a lot of adult problems to put on these little kid’s shoulders. Things they shouldn’t have to worry or wonder about. Our teachers are getting put between lovingly directing and teaching these kids to having to make them take standard tests on empty stomachs with the stress being put on getting them to score high or even adequately. Our school system needs a giant update with a lot more tax money going to the actual school and teachers. That way they don’t have to fork out all of their personal dollars to equip their classrooms. Can’t we make sure all low-income kids are getting meals at school and are getting enough from their local food banks for at home? We live in a world of excess but what so many of us don’t realize is that there are so many kids locally that could use our help. Whether it be a bed to sleep on, food in their tummies, or just reassurance that they will be safe and cared for, they need our help. It’s time we open our eyes and remember the children in our schools and the hard -working teachers that do their best to teach and satisfy all of the kids’ needs in their classrooms. It really does take a village!
Love and peace,