At 9:30 a.m. tomorrow I will face a classroom filled with 27 seven and eight year olds. The 2010-2011 school year will have officially begun in my school district. Most of the state will start a week later.
I have a daunting task before me. Nearly all of my students will come from families living in poverty. For half of my students, English is their second language rather than their native tongue. The father is absent in about half of the homes as well. Actually, this statistic has improved some over the past few years. Five years ago, I rarely saw a father. However, it is not unusual for me to see the fathers of my students who are Hispanic. That's a good thing. Fathers really do make a difference in their child's performance at school; if they get involved.
Many of my students live with fear. Their families are struggling to survive and most of them live in fairly rough areas. A lot of them move frequently which is one reason they like to come to my school. My school is not a community school meaning it has a much larger attendance area. This means mobile families can often keep their children in the same school, even if they move frequently.
For many of my students, school is their "anchor". Their home-life may be very unstable but school is a place which is much more stable and predictable. This was one reason why my unexpected hospitalization last December threw many of my students into turmoil. A number of parents talked to me about it later. Things just were not right when I was gone.
I have students who can read more than 100 words in one minute but I also have students who struggle to read 10 words a minute. My prayer is that God enable me to teach both ends of the spectrum!
It is a daunting task to be a teacher, especially when you are in a poor urban school with limited resources. However, this when I must remember that God is not limited and He will give me the wisdom and the ability to teach my students well.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/04deveni/3133469991/
K I wish I could be with you to ease your challenge (I won't call it a burden because children are not a burden, they are a blessing!). I pray that daily you see God working in the lives of those children and that you know the richest of blessings as you continue to follow the calling God has on your life.
I find that the first week back is total chaos, but knowing you I Imagine you will sail through that first week.
I have learned to look at the students and try to see beyond a face and a uniform to the person beneath. These kids need a good role model, I reckon you are just that.
I find that God has not only designed you for this but placed you perfectly in this place to be the one to connect to these kids. You uncertainty with your health and tendency to zoom at a moments notice (hehe) have equipped you to be a rock and a guide through the jungle of uncertainty for the children. I say bless you and I will certainly keep you and the kids in my prayers!!!