I discussed poverty, hunger, ethnocentrism, and economics with second graders today. We were reading a picture book in which an impoverished little girl in Uganda is helped by the gift of a goat (perhaps obviously, we read this because we're doing Read to Feed). The kids thought they had the solution to world hunger - they said "we can just send a plane over there with food on it every day, so the people will have food! Or if we can't do a plane, maybe we should build a pier and have a boat do it!" We talked a bit about why that wouldn't be as easy as it sounds. One little girl wanted to know by the poor people in other countries didn't just move to America! We had a talk about that as well - that living in America doesn't automatically make you rich, that people value their own cultures and countries even if they are financially poor, etc. etc. Then one of the boys asked why poor people didn't just open bank accounts. I explained that the bank doesn't just give away money - it's a place to store money, not a place to get it for free. (A couple of kids had a vague notion of interest, I explained that it wasn't as much "free money" as they thought it was at all. :)) The same little boy who wanted to fly food to poor families each day suggested that perhaps an ATM would be a better idea - ATMs obviously give out money. So I explained why *that* wasn't true either, and how ATMs work, and so on and so forth.
I'm trying to remember if I ever believed that the bank gave out money for free. I don't think I did, and I'm pretty sure my parents explained it to me. Imagine what the world looks like if you believe that, though! These kids must have been walking around thinking poor people were pretty dumb, or that they weren't allowed in banks, or something. I don't know. It was a very interesting (and intense!) conversation, though.
I had a long day today. I marched a kid to the principal's office and had...cause to worry about another one's well-being. There wasa 2 hour delay this morning because of the snow, but somehow I managed to get entirely worn out anyway. My brain is buzzing with kid problems, and questions, and humor, and worries. I really do care a lot about these kids already, and I genuinely like most of them, even if they tumble around in my head all the time, troubling me. That's kind of a good feeling.
Today while I was eating lunch, a woman who works with one of the kids stopped and asked me if I was okay. I said yes, and asked if I looked upset. She said no, but she was thinking about how hard the first couple of years of teaching were for her, and she wanted to know if I was holding up okay. No implication that not being okay would be akin to not liking the job - those things are not the same. I told her I was often overwhelmed, but most of the time I am okay. I thought it was nice that she asked.