Lately I have been feeling a lot of heart ache for some of the lives my littles live. All I can say is protect your children. I work in an area where stories pass through like water through a filter. There is a constant pour, and it cannot be contained, it cannot be stopped. The whispers fill the halls of children’s homes filled with neglect, abuse, contempt, drugs, and poverty.
As an educator I have 6 1/2 precious hours with my littles. I watch them enter my class each day and I earnestly search their faces for their moods, as well as any indications of how they slept the night before. I see a combination of sleep deprivation, worry, eager learners, lack of nourishment, smiling faces, and the much more.
There is, of course, the things I cannot see. The mysterious ones. Like the ones that have lost their homes and are sleeping on the floors of hotel rooms, and haven’t bathed or had their clothes washed in weeks. The littles that say they are “fine” but their eyes tell a different story. Then there are the parents that are working 3 jobs all for the welfare of their children. Most parents are just trying to do their best in this difficult world.
I am not yet a parent, and I don’t claim to know what it is like to raise children. But I am a teacher. And with that title comes the ability to see the effects of home life on each little that enters my classroom.
Twice a year I have the opportunity to meet with the parents of my littles and discuss their education and behavior. In just 15 minutes I gain insight into what their family dynamic might be like.
One parent wondered why their daughter was struggling in reading. I asked “does she do her reading homework?” The answer came back, “No, she doesn’t want to.”
Another parent was surprised to hear her student was acting out in class. When I mentioned he is often tired in class her response was, “I tell him to go to sleep, but he doesn’t want to so he just plays.”
Excuse my frankness, but 6 and 7 years old don’t dictate those choices.
From the mouth of a teacher, protect your children because so many others are missing protection and love in their life. From the mouth of a teacher, hold your children accountable for their education and their behavior. They will eventually thank you. Children need structure, expectations, and safety. Choices are important as well, but so is firm love. If they can maintain classroom expectations why couldn’t they follow similar expectations at home?
I dream that parent and educator will work together to enable children to become their best. I dream that as a team, we could empower a strong and powerful generation of leaders. I dream that parents and teachers will be the example our littles hope to become.