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 Meeting their needs 
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Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2004 6:32 pm
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Location: Startown Elementary School
As I read the Poisonwood Bible, I tried to link it to my classroom. For the longest time, I couldn't see the connection, now I think I do. One of the reasons Nathan Price couldn't get anyone to listen to his message was because he wasn't meeting the physical needs of his congregation first. Everyone there was trying to find a way to make their life better in some way or another. When Jesus fed the 5,000, He met their physical needs first and THEN preached. Nathan NEVER did this - EVER - he didn't even meet the physical needs of his own family! This, I think, is basic in the classroom. If we have children who are hungry or cold, or worried about their home life, how are we suppose to reach them? We have to first meet these needs, and then worry about reaching their educational needs. If I take nothing from this book other than this, I will remember to look deep into the eyes of my children to make sure that they are not hungry or cold and I've done all I can to make them feel safe at school.

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Teresa Costner


Wed Apr 14, 2004 8:47 am
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Location: Claremont Elementary
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I agree. It wasn't until this weekend I started to make the same connection.

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Maria Wright


Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:08 pm
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Location: American Renaissance Charter School
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I agree with you, Teresa. Nathan Price also never tried to see life from their perspectives. He came in with arrogance unwilling to learn from them. What is the saying - "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." He could have benefited from remembering this, and I know as teachers we should also keep this in mind.

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Kate Austin


Wed Apr 14, 2004 4:15 pm
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Location: Oak Hill School
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Very well put!!! I think you hit the nail on the head.

I had an experience similar to this a couple of weeks ago. A mother wrote me a note saying that her family was having a difficult time financially due to her husband's illness. She was apologizing because she was having to take her daughter out of tutoring because they couldn't afford the extra gas to pick her up.

After talking to her she let me know that they were having a hard time putting food on the table. I asked her if she would mind if the school helped and she accepted. She was very emotional when we gave her bags of groceries.

Getting tutoring for her daughter was not on her list of priorities. I can understand why. She was trying to feed a family of 4 on what little income she had. Like Teresa said, physical needs should be met first. How can we expect our children to perform when they come into the classroom hungry and worried about their parents? This child sees her father's illness everyday. She sees her mother working her fingers to the bone to keep the family fed. I guess I wouldn't worry about my reading either if I had to face that every day.

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Janie Rickman


Wed Apr 14, 2004 5:49 pm
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Location: Pumpkin Center Elementary
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Wow, what a great correlation to the classroom. I never thought of that Teresa but you are right. That is what makes our jobs so hard. Sometimes you feel as a teacher that there is only so much you can do. There is such little time in the day and so much work to cover that it is easy to overlook the physical needs of a child sometimes. It takes hearing things like this to bring you down to reality and smack you in the face. We may be the only one's who can provide that stable protection for some of these children. Thanks for opening my eyes.

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Shannon Ramsey


Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:26 pm
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I'm glad you posted. We have children in our school that are hungry and as unbelievable as it may seem they have no food at home. The parents are good people, its just the times are hard. It is no wonder that children have a difficult time learning. We do need to step back and try to protect these children.

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Stephanie Helms


Sun Apr 18, 2004 5:24 pm
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Location: Happy Valley School
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I agree with all of you. Sometimes test scores are not the most important thing in our lives or the lives of our students. I try to do my very best with preparing my kids for the test but more importantly to me is loving and caring about them as people not as test data that will not mean a "hill of beans" in 10 years.

Americans have got our priorities out of order and I am tired of falling for the propaganda that makes us think of only performance on test scores. After reading the "Poisonwood....", I decided to try to get a better focus on the important things in life. Guess what??? Test scores aren't even in the first 5.
In five years time our students who see us in the grocery store will not remember the testing data but they will remember if you loved them or if you cared about them. To me this is the "Foundation" of EDUCATION.

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Dawn Cheek


Mon Apr 19, 2004 9:58 am
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