After working in a classroom and in a psychiatric center for troubled children for the better part of fourteen years, I grew accustomed to hearing how so and so started misbehaving as soon as their feet touched the classroom floor.
I remember starting my elementary school days much the same way-not following directions, not paying attention, and on and on and on the litany of complaints would go.
The problem with these complaints is they fail to look beyond the school day. While other children’s parents tucked their children in, I was hiding under my bed trying to hide from my mother who would soon put welts all over my body. Some of the children I have worked with over the years made my story look like a fairy tale. Facing a whole day of school with last night’s pain and heartache front and center causes the dates for World War 2 or your weekly math test not to be on your radar.
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 905,000 children were abused in 2006 alone. Test scores, contrary to public education, are not the single most important factor in a child’s education. We need to focus on the whole child and realize they may be hungry, tired, sore, and profoundly sad when they walk into the classroom. Learning can only happen after these issues are addressed.
Please share your stories. Survivors, was it difficult to concentrate on school when you came to school with the previous night’s abuse fresh in your mind?