At my school every other Wednesday the kiddos have a half-day and us teachers stay at school for the rest of the day. That day after the meeting was over we were told that an organization had donated some school supplies.
Let me start off by saying that I teach in a very rural area and almost all of the kids live in poverty. The school provides free breakfast and lunch to every student. The school has dress code uniform.
- I have a girl who does not have a pair of shoes that tie for her to be able to participate in PE (now she can because a pair of sneekers were donated for her to put on before PE).
- I have another girl who wear the same shirt and bottoms all week and by the end of the week she smells very stronly of pee.
- I have about 4 students who were the same dirty shirt day after day.
All of these things are normal to the students and they do not even think twice about it.So when I saw a boys and girls backpack on the table I quickly made my way over to snag one. I ended up with the girls backpack. I was going to give it to one of my girls who has this itty bitty backpack that doesn't even fit her folders and her papers get all crumpled up. But, I ended up thinking about this other girl that I have. She is always telling me she "forgot her backpack at home". This morning I pulled her aside and told her about this backpack and asked if she wanted it. Her eyes lit up and she got excited. That's when I noticed that she was carrying one of those Fry's $1 grocery bags with a lot of her stuff in it.
At the end of the day when I gave this backpack to her she was so excited and happy. When I was walking the kiddos out to the bus she told me that she was going to be able to "be organized".
I've been thinking about it all night. Even though the backpack didn't come from me personally it feels amazing that she has something she is excited and makes me think that her other bag probably was not something she wanted the other kids to see.
If I pass out snack all of my kids want it. If I decide to reward my kids and give them a small whatever. They are grateful for what I give them.
I never thought as myself as a 1st grade teacher. I am LOVING it at this school. I love my students. I seriously have such a good class.
While I am teaching them they are teaching me that so much of what I value in life has no importance or validity. I don't need to have 20 white shirts. I don't need to have a new coach purse because what ever reason seems valid, etc. And all of the other luxuries in my life that seems like a necessity are not. My first graders are teaching a much needed lesson life lesson and they will never know. And hopefully I am providing them with the skills and strategies so they can break the cycle of poverty - thus providing them with choices when they are adults.
***Sorry for all the typos and grammar errors. I am too tired to even attempt to look for them. Good night!