Wednesday, June 1, 2016

School's out for Summer!

The stampede
The last days of school are filled with stress on students and teachers alike.  For the teachers, it is a sprint to finish report cards, say "good-bye" to students, clean out classrooms, return texts to the library, and everything else.  It was truly a sprint, because all the tasks were a finish line that depleted teacher resources, both physical and emotional.

Hard on the students?  In what possible way could leaping into summer vacation be difficult? Daylight-filled soccer games with friends? Time to ride bikes through neighborhoods?  Eat watermelon?

That is a small percentage of student populations enjoying summer with those activities.

But the last percentage, summer is horrific.

These students live in small apartments, surrounded by relatives from Mexico.  There might be 20+ people sleeping on the floor, with children in corners on a blanket.   Postage size green play areas cannot accommodate all the children from those apartments.  Green grass is trampled to dirt. Parents take them to a park?

Really?
Parents are working two jobs.  Cleaning houses, picking produce, working as maids in hotels, and other low paying jobs.  Food?  Slim pickings there.  Who watches the little children?  The bigger children watch them.

Once school ends, so does the free breakfasts and lunches.  Students had come to school, having not eaten since the last school lunch.

Once school ends, a structured classroom, which provides friends and learning, disappear.

How to change these conditions?
Once school ends, students may move back to Mexico or out closer to the produce fields, where they can also pick strawberries, beans, melon, and just about every food product that they cannot have in their house. Side by side with their parents, students learn to pick quickly. Depending on the policies of the produce companies, students and their parents may or may not keep or eat some of the produce.

Those students, those precious students have tears in their eyes when they leave the school grounds.  And so does the teacher.***

***There are programs that provide free food, clothing, and activities, but not every family can access them.  

18 comments:

  1. This is a hard reality. We take so much for granted...

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    1. We truly do. Understanding what parents ave to do to take care of these students is tragic.

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  2. A hard reality indeed. never thought about what it must be like. It is hard work picking in those fields too.

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    1. this is back breaking labor, where parents come home exhausted. Then get ready to work somewhere else.

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  3. An ugly (and far too common) reality for too many. World wide.

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  4. I'm so with you on this. I see the migrant workers in the fields in the valleys up here on the mountain. In addition to all the other hardships, they also have to wear masks that completely hide their faces, making them look like space men. The kids don't wear anything, so one wonders about all the things they must be exposed to.Just terrible all around.

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    1. What more could be said by us? Voting. letters to representative and government labor laws?

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  5. And not just Hispanics. So many other kids face that. And not because their parents are busy working. (Sadly I see that side here more often.)

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    1. I hate to think what other occupations that parents may have.

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  6. Sadly it is not only immigrants who suffer from hunger with both parents working.

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  7. This is a good reminder about kids who don't have the movie version of childhood. Thank you!

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  8. Many people don't realise this "other side of the coin" even exists, in other areas, both sides of the coin are like this.
    It's a very uneven world. Very sad that some families, too may for sure, are unable to access the programs that will help. More programs in more areas would be a step in the right direction.

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    1. Those programs should have a "sub-site", one where students and their families could enroll (without ICE) and their needs indicated. That would allow a delivery truck to bring supplies to this sub-site. It's an idea.

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  9. Hi Susan - thank you for reminding us of the needs of kids without some form of structured life - their parents are doing what they can for them ... thank goodness for wonderful volunteers and for those who care - Hilary

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  10. My wife probably has some students like this as her school is primarily Hispanic and likely illegal. It would be nice to have a solution to these situation, but people coming to this country without going through proper legal channels does not help matters. It's tough, but I'm not sure how you fix it. I don't think burdening our system is going to be a good answer either.

    But I tell you--for me as a kid, getting out of school for summer was an exciting joyous time. I wish I had that old energy still.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. For me as a kid one who loved school, getting out for summer was dismal. We all lived in farms out in the country, and most likely not see others until Sept. Then there was garden work and other chores under the hot-stinking-hot weather.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!