Challenges part 2

Published March 7, 2017 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

As I continue to push the mule that is Sixth Grade ELA up the hill (I’ll make it, but the view is terrible.),I attempt to lead by example. There are some days I wonder who the leader in the Taki crusade really is.

I have been fighting the battle of the Takis for the last three years.  For the fortunate few who do not know what Takis are, they are the spicy, crunchy snack fingers of Satan.  They are essentially a lower quality version of Flaming Hot Cheetos, which I also hate.  The main reason I hate these innocent corn products is that students eat them and then lick their fingers and then they touch things. Things like doorknobs, tables, chairs and me. It’s disgusting.

That leads me to another challenge faced by teachers everywhere.  Many of my students have food insecurity. This is not a problem faced by my school, city or state

An estimated 12.7 percent of American households were food insecure at least some time during the year in 2015, meaning they lacked access to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. That is down from 14.0 percent in 2014. The prevalence of very low food security declined to 5.0 percent from 5.6 percent in 2014. Both declines are statistically significant.”

(https://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/pub-details/?pubid=79760)

What that means is many of my students most of whom are in the middle of their growth spurts are not getting enough to eat on a regular basis. The ones who do get fed regularly do not eat well, hence the takis. I don’t know if the parents are aware that their offspring nosh on junk for most of the day, or if they don’t care or are simply too tired to argue with their kid anymore.

Case in point: One of my students, Carl (not his real name) has what is called ODD (oppositional defiance disorder, which was not a thing when I was growing up, but what do I know?) His mother is exhausted. She looks like she could fall asleep or have a nervous breakdown, possibly both.  Carl has a tendency to fly off the handle and he is a large, sturdy, sort. His grandmother told us that they used to be afraid of him, as in afraid he would injure them in the night.  (I know!)

Every day, Carl brings a sack of snacks for the day. I mean a grocery sack full of snack bars and the like.

Now Carl  is not in danger of starving, but I think he is nutritionally challenged and it’s possible that the constant stream of sugar is not helping him process information and remain calm.

Maybe I should just have a doughnut and shut up.

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