In my ten years teaching at a continuation high school, I have been to two funerals for students who died tragically. One was a gang related shooting. The other was a pool drowning at a party filled with teenagers to drunk to notice. Our school has also had a number of students survive shootings off campus although one was right in front of the school. Guns, violence, drugs and alcohol are simply a way of life for many of the students I teach. Many of them come to school everyday clothed in domestic instability, lack of love, and lack of hope. Consequently my first priority when they walk in my classroom door is to let them know that I love them and to take the ones who are especially sick in heart and spirit and listen to their words, their body language, their exhaustion.

As Maslow helped us understand, a…

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