Saturday, August 28, 2010

Difficult Sometimes...

To say that I did not grow up like my students would be an understatement. I don't think I've really talked about it much on my blog, but I teach in a small rural town... a poor, small rural town. My children do not have it all by any means. They have dealt with more difficult situations in their short seven years than I have in my 24. That being said, it breaks my heart to know what some of them deal with... Which leads me to my story...

We were at lunch. I pack my lunch every day. It's nothing new. I have never liked cafeteria food and have always packed my lunch... even when I was in elementary school. So, I had my normal sandwich, fruit, bottled water, and crackers... this day the crackers were goldfish crackers. I noticed some of the kids eyeing them and I had plenty... so, when I finished with what I wanted I walked around the table and handed each child one (yes, one) goldfish cracker. They were in heaven. They each thanked me and were so excited. It made me happy to make their day, but also broke my heart... one tiny goldfish. How often have I taken for granted things? How often have I grabbed a handful of whatever snack food and thought nothing of it? My sweet children were so pleased with only one.

I know I am the teacher, but I think that most days I am still the student. This day in particular, I was a student in the thing called life. Mine is far from perfect, but I am learning each and every day just how good I've got it.

I know without a doubt I am at that school with those children for a reason. My dream, my goal, is to make a difference for them. I'll do whatever it takes... one goldfish cracker... or 190 days of hard service. I don't care.


  1. What a sweet group! The difference between your situation and mine is that a lot of the children in my inner city district have been given a lot of things by a lot of organizations...and sometimes they get a bit of entitlement which makes my blood boil and we have a chat about it. It is wonderful when children are truly appreciative, even of the smallest things. I have had my share of students who are just enthralled at the smallest gifts I give and it humbles me every time to realize despite the hardships I have faced that I have it so much better than many of them do.

  2. Just remember that not only are your students affected by what they experience, but also thier parents and teachers. Everything they live through, everything they see, ever action taken for them or against them has shaped them into what they are today. You can be the one who gives them hope by continuing to be positive.

  3. I'm glad you had enough for each of them! I give mine goldfish every day at 10am because the breakfast doesn't really keep them going all the way through lunchtime. They love it. It is never lost on me how different my upbringing was than my kids' too. Did you read my post about finding the boy who kept his apple from lunch in his jeans pocket so he could take it home to have something to eat at home? Yes. It's a calling. You'll be great at teaching if your focus stays on loving those kids!

  4. Aw, what an adorable story. My kids would definitely not appreciate one goldfish, and take for granted a lot of what they have. Still, I've found teaching very humbling even with more well off students. I've had kids who, like you said, have gone through more in their lives than I have in mine- I have said more than once that I want to adopt children, and not because I love them so much (though I do) but because I feel like I, who is not ready to have kids at all, could provide a better, more stable life than they have. That makes me sad.