Learning in question.

One of my first grade students got an iPhone for Christmas. Another student sitting at the same table does not always eat every meal each day. How can we expect to be able to teach our kids without a knowledge of the (seemingly simple) barriers to their learning and deep engagement? How can we deeply engage with(in) these contexts in order to facilitate bridges for these/all students? How do we provide equitable access despite these circumstances?

wall
A section of the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border at Imperial Beach, California.

El niño que no comió esta mañana.

La semana pasada, un niño me dijo,
—Me duele el estómago.
A él, dije,
—Hay tres razones posibles:
——–Uno, estás enfermo y necesitas ir a la enfermera ahora.
——–Dos, tienes hambre y necesitas comer algo.
——–Tres, estás nervioso o preocupado por algo.
—————-¿Que piensas?
Me dijo,
—Creo que tengo hambre. No comí nada esta mañana.
——–¿Puedo ir a la enfermera? Ella siempre tiene comida en su oficina.

La maestra dice que los niños necesitan desechar lo que no comen en el almuerzo.
Le dijo al niño que puede poner sus restos en su mochila
——–(cuando la maestra no está mirando).

The boy that did not eat this morning.

Last week, a boy told me,
“My stomach hurts.”
I said to him,
“There are three possible reasons:
——–One, you are sick and need to go to the nurse right away.
——–Two, you are hungry and need to eat something.
——–Three, you are nervous or worried about something.
—————-What do you think?”
He told me,
“I think that I am hungry. I did not eat anything this morning.
——–Can I go to the nurse? She always has food in her office.”

The teacher says the kids need to throw away what they don’t eat at lunch.
I tell the boy that he can put his leftovers in his backpack
——–(when the teacher is not looking).

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4 thoughts on “Learning in question.

  1. You pose many good questions. Several children in my classroom are on the free and reduced lunch program and get a breakfast in the morning too. I sometimes wonder, if these are the only meals that they eat during the day. I also ponder about what happens on the weekend. When a child is hungry, it is extremely difficult to focus on learning, because you are starving and there is not enough sustenance to keep your body and brain firing on all cylinders. At the beginning of the school year, my cooperating teacher let the students know that she has Ziploc baggies for them to save food. Just today, one of my students didn’t get to eat her pear at lunch, so she told me that she was going to save it for after school. I appreciate that this is a classroom norm.

  2. ponderinged says:

    Yet another conundrum you present before us a we look at how different our students are on many levels. Some have so much while others so little. I feel for your discussion on students who are hungry and meeting their needs. At our school students can bring food home, even from their school lunch. Many days, I see milk sit in the cart waiting to go home, unrefrigerated, but ultimately, that is the decision of parent and child as to if it can still be consumed when it arrives home. I am disgraced by the quantities of food the schools mandate students take and then watch it thrown into the garbage can day after day. At my daughter’s school they have implemented a free food table where students can put items that are fully sealed that they do not plan on eating. This table is open for any student to give or receive. I think it is an excellent way to reduce waste while allowing students the opportunity to get more to eat if they do not have enough at home.

    • RLT says:

      This free food table seems like a really interesting piece of the school’s social+cultural landscape, which is making me think about the social+cultural implications of this. And it could be implemented at the classroom level too. I wonder how I would design such a program within my own classroom…

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