I’ll be honest. I struggle with long breaks away from school because I wonder if our scholars have what they need to be safe. Are they getting enough food? Are they supervised? Are they getting enough rest? Are they engaging in conversations and human interactions? Are they hiding behind a tablet or under their bed? Do they know we care about them and they weigh on our minds each and every day? Do they know when we are spending time with our families, we think about them and wonder what they are doing, if they are okay?
Over winter break I came across this article in PBS News Hour that helped put my thoughts into perspective: Don’t assume that every student had a fun or warm holiday break. It hit me particularly hard thinking about our scholars and knowing some of them are going through this scenario. It scares me when our scholars don’t return after break and we don’t hear anything. When we reach out, numbers are disconnected, the house sits empty. We ask other scholars and they may or may not have any information. Often times, they simply let us know, “Oh they moved. They don’t live there anymore.” “No they weren’t on the bus, no one was at the house.” The not knowing is what hurts and keeps me up at night.
Recently we found out about another family we have worked with ever since I can remember. They are going through a different kind of loss. The family is going through a separation and the kids are being split up. The boys are moving with dad and the girls with mom. The scholar we are most familiar with will be changing schools. We have known her for the several years. I hope she gets what she needs. I have to trust her new school will embrace her and give her the support she needs to be successful. I hesitate to let her go, but I know we have no control over what is happening in her personal life. She currently has the support of many teachers and staff members, will that continue? Will a change be exactly what she needs to shine and show her full potential or will she fall behind and withdraw, become angry and lash out? Ugh, I wish we had a crystal ball to see and know that everything will work out and be okay.
What are you noticing in your scholars at your school this week?