Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Schools Can't Do Everything

While I've been out of my classroom (thanks to a fabulous intern) I have been involved in a number of conversations about students who are having difficulty. Not being confined to one's room for the majority of the day offers many opportunities to actually talk to other teachers.

Anyway, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the expectations put onto schools.

One child, a very bright young'un, is having serious trouble being in school. This child is rolling around on the floor, sobbing in a corner, and otherwise struggling. After a meeting with a parent, the teacher still didn't have a clear reason for this behavior. However, this child and a slightly older sibling are having many problems with one another apparently. That may or may not be a cause, but the parent is concerned about it. We can't really address that problem here. It's possible these problems are significant enough for both children that they would benefit from counseling.

Another child has had academic and behavior issues for some time. This little one and the mother were the only ones in the family in this country for some time. In the last year, an older sibling has joined them from their country. Not surprisingly, this has been a challenge for the little one. Again, some sort of counseling would very likely be beneficial here.

In middle class families, these issues would exist as well, but the resources for counseling are more likely to be available. Yet again, children living in poverty are expected to achieve at the same level as their middle class peers regardless of their lives outside of school. When will we recognize that we need to address emotional issues, lack of stability in housing and employment, uncertainty about food, access to enriching activities and who knows what else? Our children deserve better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget you have a counseling program in your school that is also tasked with closing the achievement gap. While it doesn't provide therapy, there are resources in the school to help the family address the emotional needs, not just the counselor, but also a school social worker. Poverty is more than just the school issue, but there are resources in the school to to assist teachers on the emotional needs as well.