So I don't often speak specifically about my job. Obviously I deal with a lot of personal information that I would never want "out there", but this year especially has been a very frustrating and emotional one and I just need a PLACE to PUT THINGS. Mainly, these "things" will be more geared toward educational texts that I've been reading, but I'd like to relate them to my own personal experiences.
If you watched any of the afternoon talk shows, there was a good couple of weeks where they focused in on homelessness, pointing out that Orlando had the highest homeless population and the trend was only growing. Whereas our county only(1)has less than 2,000 identified homeless students, they imagine the number is closer to 10,000. My school is thereabout 90% free/reduced lunch; on my team alone, I know of ten students who are homeless. Some have the "luxury" of staying in motels. Others, not so much.
This has been a short week for me. Four days, coming back from holiday. In those four days, we got word of a gang fight in one of the complexes that left one student's life in jeopardy, with the word on the street of a retaliation. Two days later, another student's home caught on fire, destroying everything. Finally, I had a candid convo with another student because he wanted to find out consequences if he was caught stealing.
Let me be clear, outside of smack talk, the violence stays outside of school campus. It's mostly in the sketchy neighborhoods where people look the other way. BUT just because it is not in the hallways, does not mean it isn't a part of the students.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs tell us that the basic needs must be met before any other higher steps on the pyramid. Unfortunately, many of these basic needs are not in my power to assist in meeting. I can create a safe haven in my room for the forty-five minutes that the students are there. They also know I have an open door policy, and often use it. No matter how tough a kid might act, they are still a child. Even at fifteen, they emotionally are children.
I sit in meetings weekly where I am asked about formal assessments. What sort of growth has my lower 30% made? What type of formative assessment have I given? What type of remediation am I given? What is the next benchmark that I'm working on? How will I remediate?
Trying to find a balance, this year especially, has been a tough one.
(1) I say only rather tongue and cheek.