There has been so much in the news lately about education test scores, teacher evaluations, school grading systems, collective bargaining that we almost miss what education is really about; the children. How can we assure that our students are at the pinnacle of the global education system again? How do we get them there? What avenues should we take and which ones should we abandon? There are many factors that effect how a student learns; family values, ability, teacher effectiveness, effort, interventions and differentiation, time in the classroom, health status, hunger, and social atmosphere. Well as you consider all of these factors, what would be your number 1 indicator of a student’s success in school? I’m sure you’re having a hard time deciding, but I believe thare are two important factors; one, teacher experience and effectiveness and two, a student’s time in school.
With so many families having a difficult time, we as educators are faced with a new dilemma; the homeless student, or students who travel from one household to the next, missing time in the classroom, missing instruction. For some educators this situation may not be new, but for many of us it’s something we’ve never had to deal with before. It creates a kind of bounce effect moving homes, moving the car, living with relatives or friends, missing class, maybe going hungry, all of these factors just increases the difficulty of educating a child.
So…how do we support these students and families? First and foremost we need to let them know that we want the best for them and their child. We need to let them know we want to make sure their child gets an education, but for that to happen they need to be in school. We need to provide them with support services, meals, and clothing if need be.
Bottom line: we are in the business of children. We should be doing whatever we can to make sure that these children get the best education so that they have every chance possible to not start the bounce cycle again when they are older.