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Hungry children, in my classroom, in America, leader of the free world – this is what keeps me up at night

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Waiting for my coffee to brew, I wonder if this might be a two-cup-day. As I listen to cereal pour into my own child’s breakfast bowl, I wonder if my students will have breakfast this morning?  Do I have enough breakfast bars in my drawer for those who don’t?

On the drive to school, I decide to stop for a second cup of coffee. I didn’t sleep well last night, I woke up worried about the assessment today. I hope my students ate breakfast. I hope someone was there to make them breakfast, or at least encourage them to eat something better than potato chips. I hope I have enough breakfast bars in my drawer.

Roughly 25 per cent of the community lives below the US Federal Poverty Threshold of $24,250 for a family of four. Many of our school students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, including breakfast, based on home income. If these 12- to 14-year-old students do not get themselves up and out the door early enough, they won’t make it on time for breakfast. These are the kids who don’t eat. These are the kids subsisting on granola bars from my desk drawer or the fruit from my lunch box.

I handed out 60 granola bars this week, and 3lbs of apples. I paid for this food with my own money. If I don’t feed these children, they can’t learn. If I don’t feed these children, I can’t sleep at night. Hungry children, in my classroom, in America, leader of the free world – this is what keeps me up at night. 

The writer wishes to remain anonymous

Tell us what keeps you awake at night.  Email chloe.darracott-cankovic@tesglobal.com

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