Maslow's hierarchy of needs posits that humans need to have the most basic life needs met before they can achieve anything in life beyond those basic needs. So, for example, we must be able to be fed, clothed, and sheltered before we are able to work on being part of a community or society, meeting our social needs, which are higher on Maslow's pyramid. This hierarchy has profound implications in the educational setting because unless and until students' most basic needs are met, they are simply unable to attend to higher order tasks such as learning. Teachers must have an awareness of the unmet needs of students, since teaching and learning occur at the higher parts of the pyramid, with social gratification, self-esteem, and self-actualization. These are what learning is meant to achieve. A student who is homeless or unsafe cannot focus on learning anything properly. A student who is hungry or tired cannot, either. Learning implies that one's brain is clear of the dreadful disruption of problems such as these. If you have ever tried to prepare for an exam while tired or hungry, you might have experienced just a little of this. So, while teachers sometimes complain that they are not social workers, it is incumbent upon us to understand Maslow's dynamic and do our very best to ameliorate the appalling conditions under which students often are trying to learn. I know many teachers who keep food handy, for example, or just take time out to listen and offer their best advice on solving students' most basic needs. It would be wonderful if the rest of society would understand this hierarchy and be willing to ensure that the most basic needs of all students were met. If that were the case, every student could be a success.