I can still picture him sitting at his desk, elbows leaned on the surface, his hands clasped. His goofy grin and flash of fearful-yet-mischievous eyes are etched into the once-my-student photo album in my mind.
When you’ve been hit with an object thrown by a student, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
He was ornery, but not malicious. He was resistant, but thirsty for kind words, care. . . and rescue. I encouraged him, differentiated his instruction, and gave him lots of grace.
When a student is angrily flipping over chairs, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
He started his third-grade year in my class. The principal and I worked together to ensure he felt safe and cared for. Part of this teamwork included healthy, loving discipline to set boundaries around a little boy who felt so lost. The security of a boundary fence of love gave him the space to grow and take risks.
When students are passed through even though they are nearly illiterate, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
Some days he was all smiles and humor. Other days he slunk down, shoulders drooped, carrying whatever hurts had been piled on. I had no control over his situation at home. His parents, too, needed grace, care and a community holding them responsible to their children.
When students refuse to do any math, reading or writing assignments, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
Whatever trouble was brewing at home, whatever was preventing the wonderful, capable little boy from simply being a happy little boy. . .impacted every day at school in some way. His desk became a little island, so he could focus. Still he talked, he ‘interruptingly’-joked, he became angry.
When students disrupt their classmates, forcing them to clear the room, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
And then he was gone. Like a water drop in hot sun. My heart took yet another hit.
When parents are hurting and students are hurting, do you think: More school funding would solve this problem?
The teachers’ unions seem to think all problems can simply be solved with: more funding. Is anyone else weary of this broken-record?
*Originally posted January 19, 2019