For my 8th graders, some of my kids didn't get an 80% (mastery) on the Forms of Government test. As per my usual routine, I gave up my lunch and offered a LUNCH BUNCH study time and test re-take opportunity. One student arrived early sans lunch. I was busy gathering up lab equipment off tables from my 7th grade science class, so I wasn't looking at my early student as I said, "Hey, go on and get your lunch. You can eat while we do our Rapid Study Technique before the re-take."
I could feel the silence and non-movement of my student. So, I turned and looked. There were tears on the table beneath his bowed head. I pulled up a chair and asked, "Family or friends." Silence. That meant it was a family issue. Probing gently, I got, "Mrs K., both my Mom and Dad got laid off and our house ... our house. I was too worried to ask for a check for lunch money, and I'm too embarrassed to ask for the P&J lunch." When he said "our house," it came out like a moan.
The second, a followup from our own teacherken: Many of my kids are scared, too