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Empty Room

So, I have my first teaching job. It is only for the month of June but its a foot in the door. I’ve been here three days and havent seen a single student. It’s tough to think about really. I am isolated and I am the only one at the school. One thing I should mention is this isn’t your regular classroom. This is a classroom where students attend for various reasons. It might be court ordered, can’t handle a regular classroom setting, adult student trying to get their grade 12, or just can’t go to school on a regular basis. The students that I am supposed to have range in age from 14-27. When students do show up it wont be more that a few at a time. I can definitely see the value in this program that is operated by the high school in the nearby town but when there is an empty classroom it can be discouraging that’s for sure.

This lack of attendance has really got me thinking. From what I know about the students I can see why attendance can be an issue. You always hear people say sometimes there are more important issues at home in a student’s life then coming to school. Sitting here and looking around the school and the community I realize that this is even more true for some then I had ever imagined.

To many people in this community first and foremost, family is number one. Most of us would also say that but just to give an example of how much family and furthermore community mean to this place. When someone passes away, the whole community shuts down, including the school, to pay their respect to the deceased. Many of the members of this community are related, some are not, but this community is close enough that everyone feels like family.

Another thing I have heard over and over through the years is money isn’t everything. I have always agreed with this statement but today I started to think about that statement. True money isn’t EVERYTHING, but what about if money was a scarce as some families have it. Money might still not be everything but it would be a BIG thing in your life when you do receive that little bit of money to put some food on the table and maybe some new clothes.

School is important, its hard to argue that. A good education can go a long way, but sometimes getting a good education isn’t as easy as having a good teacher. When a family has to struggle to put food on the table every day, schooling gets put on the back burner. The sad thing is, not getting a good education is often why this continued cycle of poverty and issues at home never seem to end. It’s hard to get out of that cycle, get an education and get a job to be able to provide for your family.

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