Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week
This week (and really, all weeks) we want to acknowledge teachers and the role they play in family homelessness.
Teachers do not just play a role in educating their students; their role is much larger and more complex. They provide the warm, safe, and positive place that is accessible to all children; they supplement basic needs that many kids don’t fully get at home; they include in their lesson plans and activities critical parts to child development when those elements are slashed from the budget; and they do their best to provide individual attention to children who learn differently but are expected to perform the same.
This year, Homes for Families has been working with current and future teachers to educate them on the connection between homelessness and education, increase awareness about homeless students in the classroom, and learn about their experience with homeless students and some of the things they do for them.
Like the quote above says, teachers are expected to do so much more than teach, and we should recognize and applaud them for exceeding those expectations. We would like to share what some Lesley student teachers are doing for their students to make sure they are safe, fed, and ready to learn:
– They tell the kids to get up in the middle of the lesson and do jumping jacks to get pent up energy out
-They make a pathway of tape for kids to walk around the classroom to instill a sense of boundaries
– They keep a cot in the classroom for kids to take naps on if they need it
-They stock their desks with extra food and snacks for those who come to class hungry
This is just a small sample of the things teachers do to provide homeless students with activities and support they need to ensure they are learning, developing, and thriving. And this is just one example of the teachers who do more than what is expected of them.
Across the country, teachers are using their own time and their own money to make sure their students are fed, supported, and educated.
And they have to.
According to the No Child Hungry Report, 73% of teachers say they have students who regularly come to school hungry and they are spending almost $40 a month to change that. A recent report, America’s Youngest Outcasts, finds that 1 in 30 students are homeless. The 2014 Don’t Call Us Dropouts Report highlights that students who experience homelessness are 87% more likely to drop out of school.
So this week, we don’t want to just acknowledge teachers for their teaching, but for everything else that comes along with it.
We encourage everyone to reach out to a former teacher and share your gratitude, or to connect with your child’s current teacher and let them know how big of a difference they are making.
If you are a teacher- Thank you for all you do for the students and future leaders of our country and the world. Never hesitate to contact us with support around teaching homeless students, or learning more about the crisis that impacts so many children in America.