But do you see their invisible backpacks?
Some kids walk in your classroom door and won’t have any backpack except for the backpack we don’t see. It’s not full of school supplies or even a pencil to write with. The backpacks I’m referring to are the ones that are full of the emotional baggage that they carry with them every single day. I’m talking about things like stress, anxiety, abuse, neglect, disappointment, frustration. Some kids can fit a few of those unseen supplies in a small nap sack while others need a moving truck to carry the baggage that weighs on them every single day.
As we begin school, don’t forget that kids are bringing more with him then you will ever imagine. They will put on a brave face and hide that baggage from you all year long. Others will show you immediately how much baggage they have in their backpack with their behavior and raw emotion. In order to take kids from where they are to where they need to be, we must put on our eyeglasses of empathy, understanding, and respect because kids have no one to turn to but us. They are searching for hope. They are searching for belongingness, and we are the only ones that some of them can count on to help them unpack their suitcases of isolation and desperation.
The start of school is all about having a fresh start. It’s about believing that this year kids will be able to find their ultimate purpose of being on this earth. Never forget that kids need to know how much you care and how much you accept them, for those are the things that will inspire and invite kids to unpack their negativity and aspire for a new beginning.