One of the saddest tasks no teacher, [even a guest teacher] likes to see is a hungry student. Too many times I’ve had to keep a small supply of juice, healthy snacks, and fruit when a number of my kids would come to school cranky and stressed out because their stomachs had precedence over their brains.
A recent story presented on the CNN network, Students going hungry, highlights some of the woes faced when childhood hunger has such a large presence in many urban schools. This is a serious problem that has grown over the last year.
Featured is Bill Shore, founder and executive director of the national non-profit, Share our Strength. The organization produced a powerful report on hunger in the classrooms. One of the points that came up was that for every 10 teachers surveyed, 4 spent an average $25 per month out of their pockets on food.
As someone who has worked at several of schools in my city, I’ve witnessed crying, sullenness, sleeping, and aggressive behavior, usually stemming from the child not receiving enough nutrition to get them through the day. Unfortunately, school meals are often the only decent meals that kids have–but what about when they leave school in the afternoon? What about the weekends, Or when school is out for vacations? Where are those nutritious meals they need to have?
Despite the necessary push for academic excellence, it’s just as important to focus on what goes into the mouth, as well as what goes into the mind.