Saturday, September 29, 2012

Starving for knowledge

I cannot teach on an empty stomach. I already know the consequences of allowing low blood sugar to dictate how the rest of my day is going to go because I have often sacrificed breakfast in the triage of having a quick morning routine. We know of that devil's bargain that we make when we wake up after the snooze was activated for the ninth time - I will jump in the shower, shave my stubble and get dressed on the way to the car (not literally!). Breakfast is the first of the things that I chose to omit because a smelly teacher was ostensibly much more noticeable than a hungry teacher. Well, thanks to decreased functioning and a crankier outlook on the day, I realize that breakfast can have as much an impact on my work as five o'clock shadow. Both problems make me appear run down even before the clock strikes twelve. Conversely, we are very aware when we notice that a student has skipped showers. The smell can especially pungent in a middle or high school setting. All of the Axe deodorant in the free world cannot mask a deficiency in bathing. When students arrive in the classroom after missing breakfast, however, the results are a lot more subtle. Stomachs may not growl and teachers may not know the warning signs of a student who has a challenge with nutrition at home. I was made aware of this, as I posted on my school blog, when a student came to class with what seemed to be a giant monkey on her back. She could not focus on her work and I was worried about what was troubling her. She forthrightly told me that she did not have anything to eat that morning as her cupboard was bare. I made a deal with her that I would bring breakfast foods so she could ask for help when she needed it. Upon further research (, I discovered that over a quarter of Florida's students live with 'Childhood Food Security' and one out of ten Floridians experienced the same issue of having little to nothing to sustain them. If we truly believe in education reform, we must reform the way our children are fed. Private partnerships are necessary to help all public school students to not just feed their minds, but their bodies.

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