Monday, December 28, 2015

Just Because Our Students Are Living in Poverty...

Ban Ki-Moon

Many times we allow stereotypes to rule our perceptions of others, whether it's race, gender, or socioeconomic status. We allow these perceptions to cloud our judgment, and we make decisions based on these misconceptions. We believe if it is true of one, it is true of all. How unfair to the students who walk into our classrooms every day.

A child "living in poverty" seems to be a hot button issue right now, and rightly so. But how much do we let the fact that any of our students are living in poverty affect how we relate to them? How does the fact that our students are living in poverty, change the way we teach ALL of our students?

I'm just thinking out loud. We need to make sure that we put the "brush" away, and see our students as individuals, and not a statistic.

Just because they are living in poverty, it does not mean that:
  • we should not have high expectations of them, and only expect minimum effort.
  • their mother is an addict, Dad is absent, and no one has a job.
  • they can't read, write, or do math.
  • they can't make it to school most of the time.
  • they are not gifted.
  • there is not anyone at home who wants them to be successful.
  • they will behave poorly in class.
  • they should be provided with limited or non-equitable resources,
  • they can't compete with other students.
  • they are unable to participate in any extracurricular activities. (STEM, Mystery Skype,etc...)
  • they are only capable of test prep, higher-order thinking escapes them.
  • can not graduate from high school or college.
  • we are better than them, that we know better than them.
  • they don't want more, from their teachers, their community, their world.
  • they don't dream BIG.
Living in poverty comes with many struggles, but we should still provide our students with an education they could use to escape it.

Please take a moment to listen to this TED talk by Mia Birdsong," The Story We Tell About Poverty Isn't True."

1 comment:

  1. As a teacher who was privileged to work many years inside our district's low-income schools, I was heartbroken to watch as those who invaded our schools (under laws of NCLB) to "fix" them then began to force so much low-level reform. My best years were those years when I was left to my own devices, and proved to myself and to my students, how much they COULD do...or shall I say, they proved this to me? :)