When a teacher meets thirty students inside of a classroom and the bell rings, the entire sum of life experiences of all those people collides inside a confined space creating a rather complex dynamic where there is a need to be part of a collaborative community.
Every situation, every stressor, every victory, every defeat, every unknown that affects each student comes with that student.
All in one classroom.
Issues of hunger, poverty, safety, sanity, fear, and uncertainty can permeate throughout any student’s life. It does not matter the level of class or even the school. Almost every public school has a student body whose members experience any of those.
To say that a teen or child can put aside what afflicts him or her at the front door of a school and totally open his or her mind to soak in prescribed lesson plans is ludicrous. Just because someone comes from what is perceived as an affluent background does not in any way exempt them from carrying “baggage.”
And every high school classroom has a lot of “baggage” brought in.
Every day. Every class period. Sometimes a little is left. Sometimes people pick up other people’s “baggage.” Sometimes the contents in each “bag” grows and gets heavier.
This teacher doesn’t want for students to have to bring in so much of this baggage.
Do you know how many tens of thousands of students could walk into a school classroom in North Carolina with less “baggage” if the General Assembly simply expanded Medicaid benefits?
Would there be less “baggage” coming in to schools if the General Assembly stopped giving so many tax breaks to the wealthiest and focused on helping get the almost one-in-four students in NC public schools out of poverty?
Do you know how much “baggage” could be sifted through, sorted, and even purged if more counselors and other trained personnel were placed inside schools who not only cared about a student’s academic well-being but even more so about the “whole” student?
What if each school had a registered nurse who could not only diagnose ailments but be able to give medical care to any student enrolled?
What if schools offered more wrap around services for students before and after school?
What if North Carolina’s General Assembly stopped funding unfounded mandates like unregulated charter schools and various unproven voucher systems that take money away from traditional public schools that serve the almost ninety percent of North Carolina’s students?
Imagine how much less “baggage” students would bring in to schools. Imagine how much less “baggage” they could leave with if the NCGA prioritized its schools as they should.
Then maybe those “bags” would be filled with better outcomes and new textbooks.