This past summer, I tutored two summer school math classes for incoming freshmen in
my district. I’ve tutored dozens of students in my high school career, so when I was working with
these students, I wasn’t expecting anything to be different. That’s why I was so surprised when
the teacher pulled me aside and told me she had given a student one of my pop-tarts. He hadn’t
eaten all day. My school prides itself on being diverse, but I hadn’t considered it diverse in an
economic sense until that day. I had peers who were lacking one of the basic essentials,
something I took for granted, food.
I thought I had prepared myself for any tutoring scenario. I thought I knew my school
district and every background it encompassed, but I was wrong. I learned there were people
walking the same halls as me, even sitting next to me in class, who live in conditions I couldn’t
even imagine. It was surprising and devastating.
Since this experience, my understanding of my students’ and peers’ needs have
changed. I had no idea about his struggles until it was brought to my attention. I had just
assumed that, like me, he had eaten breakfast that morning and dinner the night before. I
couldn’t believe something like that happened in my community. The…
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