In three decades of teaching, I'm pretty sure I never heard a teacher say he/she loved lunch duty. Trust me, trying to supervise students before, after, or while trying to eat your lunch can give you a stomachache.
When my brother and I were kids, Mama used to fuss at us when we would "cut up", and it had nothing to do with scissors.
A tenet of serving in an urban school district is, "If you feed them, they will come," at the elementary level. In our secondary program for at risk students, many of them were substitute parents for younger siblings. Out of necessity they had already learned to take care of basic needs.
Older student needs seemed to have moved up Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs. The thing is, I'm not sure where the needs they demonstrated fell in the hierarchy.
Like probably most schools, school districts, and states, our alternative school had visits by the "education police" periodically. I kinda felt sorry for the folks who drew the short straws and had to check out schools like ours. There's probably no telling what they observed.
Her reputation preceded her. She was coming with a bad reputation, a big mouth, and bright mind wrapped up in a petite frame.
What could have made a girl become seemingly so "hard", and always looking for a fight?
The teachers all knew who he was. Usually late, frequently failing, sometimes high. Was there any hope for him?
What could I possibly teach him that would be useful? How could history help someone who didn't seem to have a future?
Do you remember Donnell, the student with tapioca? With charm and grace, Donnell managed to teach me a lot about teaching.
I tried to help students build connections. When a lesson in early American history connected to ice cream and Bambi, we were all surprised.
If you're a mom reading this, it may sound unbelievable.
It was just an umbrella, nothing more, but it was enough. It was enough to be the final straw and nearly cost him his life.
Teaching in an urban alternative school was like no other school I attended or worked in. It didn't take me long to realize that the people working there were either passionate about kids, crazy, or a little of both.
It didn't take long at the urban alternative school to figure out we were working with kids frequently functioning at the lowest level of Maslow's hierarchy. (Sometimes it seemed like they were in Maslow's basement.)
Once I figured that out, a couple of logistics became clear: keep food available, and individual servings worked best. It took a little longer to realize it could also be used as a counseling tool.