The other day while I was having my lunch an older student was sent to my class to finish work he hadn't finished. While my assistant and I sat eating lunch and talking about our lives and the different shows we watch, we noticed that this boy was sitting there staring off. He was somewhere far away from our classroom. Thinking that he might not understand the work that sat in front of him, my assistant asked him if he was having trouble. His response floored me. He said "Yes, My mom has started drinking again. I think I am going to have to move in with another family member and then I will have to change schools."
Here my assistant meant trouble with the math problems he was working on. After listening to him for a few minutes and letting him get some of his troubles off his chest, she asked him if he was having troubles with the math. He looked down and shook his head as he said "No, I know how to do this." Then she left him to finish his work and he continued to stare at the wall and lose any focus he might have had.
In one statement this child has dug a place into my heart. For the past two days every other thought I have had has been about him. What a huge weight for a 10 year old to carry around with him. We as teachers expect students to leave their problems at the door and focus. What a tall order for us to expect of such young children. We as teachers can't even do this. We place our own personal problems on students without even knowing it. I think it is funny that teachers don't have time to get to know students and their situations. If we knew more about our students we might have a better understand of what they are going through and why their minds aren't 100% on the task at hand. We also might have a better idea how to approach the child so that the work we need to achieve could be successfully done.
Many of our children's life saddens me. They should be safe in their surroundings. They shouldn't have to be the adult in their homes. Children minds are not made to deal with the all the worries of the adult world. In this time children are becoming adults at a younger and younger age and the "adults" are the ones placing this burden on the children.