Sunday, November 9, 2014
A lot of times when we are in the midst of teaching, we don't really see the whole picture, don't recognize the truly important events and changes happening. It's like watching a plant grow. If you watch it hour by hour, day by day - you don't appreciate the tremendous changes. But if you look away for a while and then look back. There it is.
As Heidi and I were preparing for a presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English in a couple weeks, I was once again looking back on some of the work with my last third grade class. It's a long story - maybe someday I'll get to the whole thing.
The short of it is that we noticed a tremendous amount of food waste in our cafeteria. It was mainly veggies. Kids have to take a serving if they get a cafeteria lunch. That's the rules.
In most cases the vegetables went from the cafeteria line to the tray to the tables where the kids eat then to the trash. My class surveyed the school about their favorite vegetables so that we could give that information to the cafeteria manager - in hopes that the favorites could be ordered so we would waste less food.
In the meantime, our school had a food drive for a local food bank. We became more and more interested the hunger ad homelessness in our area. We read books, watched videos, had some guest speakers come in to educate us, we had our own food drive, did a ton of math, wrote a song, fasted, recorded a CD of original songs, raised a bunch of money, held a benefit concert at a conference at our school. We visited a food bank and learned about the systems in place to help the hungry and homeless. We learned facts and figures about hunger in our area and hunger and starvation throughout the world. But most of all we changed.
All of us.
Here are some of the words my class wrote while we were studying hunger and homelessness in our area. It was in the looking back over things that I could see those plants grow.
Since we have been learning about hunger and homelessness I have changed a lot! I changed because now I really see homeless people. When I heard that 20,000 people die every day of hunger my heart was breaking.
When I was little I always thought that everybody was rich and had a home, but obviously I was wrong. It helped me to see homeless in different ways. I feel better knowing that I can help.
The world I want to see is one with no hungry people.
Learning about hunger helped me to change my heart. I can't say, "It's all gonna be all right." But I can say, "What can I do?"
I feel a lot more power inside of me. I feel like I can help. Just to know what it feels like to be hungry when we fasted together made me want to do something to help.
Hunger is like a slap in the face. We don't have to live in that world.
I used to not even think about hunger but now I am selling my toys and stuffed animals to help with hunger. We are all working together to make a big change in the world. Our class is going to change the world.
Being a person who is kind and giving is something people will remember you by. Not only should we change how we act, but we should change in our hearts. I know that I will never feel real hunger but I can help one bit at a time. You can feel bad for someone, but it won't help until you do something.
There is enough food in the world for everyone and yet 842 million are starving. I feel very blessed to have so much when other people have so little.
One thing I know for certain is that if we give a little more and care a little more we will have a good feeling inside. I have changed because of the people around me. Seeing everybody be so helpful makes me want to help even more.
I used to be scared of homeless people but now I just want to help. If you feel bad that is good. But if you do something about it then it is better. Now I am doing something about it.
We are very blessful that we don't starve and we always know where our next meal is coming from. If you see hungry people then help them. That means that you have changed the world.
Hungry and homeless people are just like you and me.
One question - when are we going to stop hunger for good?