I spent an hour talking with the school psychologist to begin a game plan. I'm a new teacher, yet I know this child is more than just an "active" child. Two other children in my class do have disabilities and aggression issues, but I had figured out what motivates them, and what calms them down. But not with this new child, a week has gone by with him, and nothing works.
This is why I am here though, to teach. So my challenge has just been increased. I won't back down!
I've also experienced the realities of working in a low-income community. For whatever reason, it has taken a while for some "free lunch" applications to process. In the meantime, if the child does not pack or bring money, they get a pack of crackers and juice. I got a new student last Friday. Very quiet, sweet boy. His pants fall down past his hips, and he holds his pants up with every step that he takes. He's not trying to have the "thug" look..his mom just didn't give him a belt to wear.
When he went through the lunch line, he received crackers and juice I see the look on his face, embarrassment, and I think more than anything he was just plain hungry. I think to myself that besides the breakfast we gave him at school..that could be his only meal all day. I had to just look the other way and leave the cafeteria. As a teacher in schools like this, you have to become hardened to an extent, otherwise with a heart like mine, you will constantly be saddened by the situation in front of you.
I couldn't get him out of my mind all night. So I just packed him a lunch. I didn't tell any teachers, or anyone else. I figured they would say something like, "Oh..you don't want to do that, the parents will take advantage of you." or something to that nature. Not that they are wrong for saying that, they are probably right, they have taught for a much longer time than I have, and they have learned how to deal with the environment.
But in church every Sunday, I am thinking about all of the needy people in this world, and how I wish so much that I could help them. Here I am, spending 6+ hours a day with needy kids whom I love, and they live just miles away from my own home. I just decided that I would do what I could do help them. Sometimes we just need to look right under our noses to see the needs of this world.
Anyway, back to Jake I will call him. It was time for lunch, and I noticed that Jake just had a bag of chips in his bag. So I quietly handed him a paper bag and said, " Do you like peanut butter and jelly?" You would have thought it was Christmas. Not only did he feel happy to be part of the group again, but he was probably happy to eat! As I saw him smiling from ear to ear, munching on his apple at lunch, my heart smiled.
The next day, same routine, "Line up for lunch, " only this time, I noticed he was just crying at his desk. I realized that this day he didn't even have chips, so he thought he was going to go lunchless. I said, "Jake, come here, your lunch is over here remember?" Suddenly, the once crying boy was smiling from ear to ear, skipping back into line.
As happy as it made me feel, my heart broke as well because he has two older siblings. Knowing that they probably didn't have lunch broke my heart. But after lunch I saw the secretary walking with the two siblings into the cafeteria, she asked if Jake had eaten lunch and I said yes, I took care of it. She said that she was doing everything she could to fix the problem, and at 1:30pm she was taking them into get a bite to eat. Thankfully, the problem was fixed the next day, and they all ate school lunches.
But this is just one family, and one meal. Imagine afterschool, and on weekends..
Oh..the realities of life.
Funny quote of the day from one of my sweet first grades who was crying.
I will call her Gina.
Me: " Gina, why are you crying?"
Gina:" Because my beanie babies are at home, and I know they are worried about me."