Yesterday, I had a conversation with a student that left me in awe. This young lady was telling me about her weekend. Her mom, whom she hadn’t seen in a year, came and visited her. Her mom recently went deaf. However, she told me about how rewarding it was to see her mom and how they went to Walmart, and McDonald’s and spent time together. She spoke of how hard it was to say goodbye to her mom and how she cried as her mom left. Then she told me the real kicker. She hoped each and every day that she could be placed in a foster home so she could have friends and be closer to her mom.
After she told me about her story, I thought about my own. Yes, I grew up in a single-parent household (which according to today’s standards stands for “special needs” in schools). BUT, I had everything I could need and more. I didn’t have to worry about where my next meal was coming from, I didn’t have to worry about not having clean clothes to wear to school. All I had to think about was how I did in school and plan my future. I had the family support who asked me if I finished my homework, what I wanted to be when I grow up, and what my dreams and aspirations were.
As I sat and contemplated, I had a new perspective. How can we expect to compare the two worlds? How can we rank a child who is worrying about where their next meal is going to come from against a child who’s only worry is how they did on their science test?
It makes me sad, but it is reality. And as teachers we have to be the best we can be. Whether that be a counselor, a shoulder to lean on, or a teacher.