Chapters 1 and 2 Reflection
Teaching with Poverty in Mind
Reading the chapter entitled “How Poverty Affects Behavior and Academic Performance” has reminded me of all the issues students have to overcome in regards to their poverty situation - emotional challenges, social challenges, stressors, cognitive lags, and health and safety issues.
However, as I was reading chapter 2, I became impatient because I simply wanted to get to the “how can I help” part. The action steps detailed at the end of chapter 2 are invaluable reminders of what we can do to not only to improve school behavior and performance but also to ensure that students have the skills to change their world in the future. This is where I wanted to put my focus.
Building students’ core skills is the place to start. Helping students develop better attention and focus skills, teaching students to build better short and long term memory skills, helping students build positive social skills, teaching students problem-solving skills, helping students identify their strengths and weaknesses in basic school subjects, and building relationships with students in order to foster hope and show support are all definite ways we can help students in poverty succeed. We should revisit this list often!
In my years of teaching experience, two areas from the above list have truly been manifested. I so enjoy teaching students problem-solving skills within project-based learning. It is often a long and sometimes laborious process, but when the students finish their projects and present them, I always say to myself, “this is real learning!” Students emerge with confidence because they have solved a problem their way. And undoubtedly building a trusting relationship with any student is possibly the first key to superior learning. Hope and support are two of the richest gifts any teacher can give a student!
What a remarkable thing to do in this world; affect a child in a way that makes him or her filled with hope to succeed in life!