Students After Winter Break

I can remember coming back from winter break when I was a kid and we all would talk about the things that we received from our parents. Now granted I went to high school in the 90s and early 2000s, so we had some forms of technology. We would talk about the clothes we would get, CDs DVDs, and video games. Some people would be lucky enough to get tickets to a concert. But those were so few and far between. We all thought we were "living it big" because we got all of these amazing tings. But the biggest things that most of us got were new clothes. They were the pinnacle of everything. You had to have the best clothes in order to be cool and you wanted to make sure they looked nice.

Today when teaching I listened to my students and the kids in the hallways talk about what they received for the holidays. It was staggering! Kids received two or three game systems, Google Pixel 3 phones (that run $1,000 or more), and countless apps to run on their phones. This was just ONE child. This type of thing went on and on throughout the day. I asked my students about their presents and they spoke of new cell phones, smart watches, game systems, 4K HD TV's for their bedrooms. The list goes on and on. I just cannot believe how much these kids receive.

I then took a thought back and thought about myself and my friends. Even though we graduated high school in 2002 the world is a vastly different place in almost 20 years. Both parents are traditionally working now as prices are staggering upwards. Kids are coming home to empty homes for hours on end or having to care for their siblings until 9 or 10 pm (after getting home at 3pm) because their parent is working a second job. Kids are given all of these items because parents are so tired after work that they need time to relax.

I think of a few students in particular who have "everything." But they are still sad and depressed. All those students want is for someone to be there for them. These kids act out in class because they crave the attention from an adult. When you tell the child you will speak to their parent, it actually almost makes them happy. They know that they will get to have time with their parent; all be it negative attention, it is attention. How sad this makes me feel knowing that this is a state that many of our children live with daily.

Many kids are unhappy to be back at school because they wish that they are still sleeping, at home with their new gifts, or just with friends. However I know that for many that is a fa├žade. They are overjoyed to be back because they crave the normalcy. They crave the fact that adults are there giving them the attention that they so desperately need. It makes me realize just how much of a difference that educators make in the lives of these kids. Sure, biologically they are not our kids. But if you talk to any teacher they call their students "my kids." The bond that is established runs deep. So when I hear about all the gifts a kid gets as they brag, I feel sad for them. Because I know that they are crying inside because the one thing that they want is missing.

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