By Allison Kirch, Staffing Specialist for MHED
Understanding and Applying Tier 1: Physiological Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy covers all needs we have as humans to be available for self-growth to meet full potential. The first tier being basic needs. As teachers, we need to be empathetic of each student’s unique situations. If a child is tired and is resting their head on their desk- have a polite conversation with the student to see if you can get more information about why they’re resting their head. If the student tells you it is because they were up all-night caring for a sick sibling– that’s all they can handle. Let them rest their head on their desk, make note for the teacher explaining the situation, and let it be.
If the student is not communicative- let it be. We don’t know what goes on outside of the classroom in each child’s home life. If a student comes to you and says they are hungry, and they know their teacher has snacks in their desk, can they please have one. Acknowledge the student’s hunger, see if you can get further information. “Oh, I’m so sorry you are hungry. Did you have a chance to eat breakfast this morning?”
Still abide by the MHED policy of not handing out food to students, but see if you can call the office, or send the student to the office instead. If this student truly is having a crisis at home, the administration and/or counselor may already be aware and can handle the situation appropriately. The application process for the first tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy is being empathetic towards each student in the classroom.