Here’s a rundown on my class this year.
- Kindergarten through second grade reading levels despite being in third grade.
- For many, minimal, if any, parental support at home.
- Witnesses to domestic violence.
- Transient living situations.
- Crowded living conditions.
- Habitual lateness or absence.
- Lack of accountability outside the classroom.
- Medical conditions, disabilities, medications, and lack of proficiency in the English language.
- Poverty and poor nutrition.
Take into account everything else that holds influence over school and what we do in my class. I ask:
- How can my students be expected to pass the upcoming tests?
- How can they prioritize them?
- How can they be held to a standard that belittles their truths and realities?
- How can they be made to feel they’re less than? Worse than? Not as good as? Not as worthy as?
The unfortunate, simple answer to the question, “How can they?” is, “Well, they just can.”
And so, the next question becomes, “Why?”
To that question, I’m still waiting for an acceptable response.