Today a child told me she hadn't attended school for the last two days because her guardian couldn't find the money for bus fare. I didn't want her to feel shame so I said nothing.
Last week on a particularly warm day I asked a student why he was still wearing his windcheater. He told me nobody had washed his school shirt and the windcheater was all he had on. I didn't want him to feel shame so again I said nothing. He is 11.
Two weeks ago we were brain storming reasons why kids don't eat breakfast. Reason number two was " no food in the house". My heart broke. I reminded them about the breakfast club before school and moved on so nobody would feel embarrassed.
This afternoon I made puppets with a bunch of 14 year old female childcare students. Their pleasure in something so simple was a joy. Five minutes later they were discussing somebody they knew who had been bashed by a boyfriend. The story stole everyone's joy.
I asked a young girl why she wasn't going to be at school the following day. She said she never came on Wednesdays. I asked her why. She said she preferred Netflix, her bed and the fridge at home. I asked her how come her parents allowed it and she proudly told me the sort of trouble she could cause if they intervened. So they never did. Her attendance confirms this.
I listened to a group of 12 year old girls discussing their boyfriends. I sincerely hope they're imaginary ones but I doubt it. I also doubt they're all still virgins.
There are kids who look like they could do with a hug. As a teacher I can't do this. As a mother it is hard not to do it.
What the hell is wrong with our world that our children are living like this?