As the end of the school year approaches, I am often reminded of the harsh reality of summer break for a number of our students. Many of my students are excited to get their Little League seasons into high gear or their annual summer vacations with the family to a whole variety of locations. Some are already making plans for mid-week sleepovers and time with grandparents and relatives. However, that is not the case with all of my students.
There is a small population of students not looking forward to summer break although they will never come out and tell you. No, I am not talking about your overachieving gifted kids that love doing projects and taking tests. I am talking about that student that has been acting up lately. They have not been doing their work and have been getting into trouble more than usual. In class you notice them unplugging and doing anything for your attention and often in a negative manner. Generally speaking, they are not themselves.
When you take a closer look at these kid’s lives you realize there is something going on. They are not making plans for the summer because they don’t have any. For these students, there is a wide variety of reasons why they fear the summer. For some, their parents are going through a brutal divorce. For others, their parents are just not around and are not involved. In some sad cases, they are in broken homes with some level of abuse or other more tragic circumstances. For them summer is not filled with fun and games, but a harsh reality. They are often too proud to tell you this and as a result act out to get that much craved attention from you before leaving for the summer.
The end of the year will come and summer break will commence. However, for some kids, school is their break. It is their place of normalcy and stability. It is the place they feel safest and most cared for. When these kids started getting out of control towards the end of the year, keep in mind that some of them might be seeking attention out of fear for the summer ahead of them...
Thanks for the reminder that children ALL over the world face so many different kinds of challenges. and there is so much for each one of us to do....
Thank you, for reminding me of this! I have little faces popping into my head because I know exactly which kids these are in my class and know each of their painful stories. This week has been tough behavior wise! I needed this to help me remember they are just coping!
Excellent post. I was discussing something along these lines today with neighbors. The legislators here just cut funding for about 1,125 teachers this coming year. This of course brought up a whole litany of related topics, one of which was food stamps. Growing up in such a poor area where well over 50% of students were on free breakfast and lunch programs, summer is also a time when they will do without food. This is expounded this summer after so many more Alabama families have been affected by the overall poor economy and devastating events like the Gulf oil spill and the tornadoes that destroyed so much a few weeks ago. It saddens me to think that not only will many students face hunger, but as you pointed out, many who are facing this hunger also have to deal with a great deal of other issues children should never have to endure. Thanks for reminding all of us that often those acting out are the ones who need our love and patience most. Have a good summer.
Josh thanks for this reminder. I think we all rember this once we think about it. Its good to have someone stop us to think.
It took me a few years to figure out this pattern, and I have found it to be true each and every year. I sometimes come to this point of the year and wonder if I was able to do enough. I have a hard time letting go of some of the hearts I was able to sink deep into...knowing that my impact time is over. I can only hope that my words, my care, and my belief in them will be with them throughout the summer and beyond. Thanks for reminding us just how special all children are...and what a wonderful gift we've been given, by being their teachers.
Nice perspective. Thanks.
Nice perspective. Thanks for writing.
Astute perspective. Thanks for sharing.
I had a student tweet me about how he couldn't wait for spring break to be over and get back to school....I can't imagine how summer break is for him. Thanks for the reminder.
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