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The following are some statistics from a relatively recent study on poverty and education in the United States:
-The poverty rate in U.S. is close to 15%, meaning 1 in 6 Americans live at or below the poverty level.
-More than 1 in 5 children in the U.S are living in poverty
-The poverty rate for single-mother households is 31%, meaning almost 1 in 3 single mothers live in poverty.
-6.8 million children, or about 1 in 11 of all children in the U.S., live at 50 percent below the federal poverty line.
-30% of children raised in poverty do not finish high school
Unbelievable statistics!! Especially in the United States! Without a doubt, teachers are experiencing encountering more and more students who are living in poverty. It is just a fact of classroom life in 2018. And, the uncommon myth that students in poverty just need more of everything is just that - a myth.
WHAT??? This makes no sense to most teachers. Well, though in theory these students are in need of an extra helping of everything, the actual understanding of how students living in poverty interact with the world is arguably just as important.
After spending the beginning of my teaching career in a predominately poverty- stricken area, I realized that I would have been much better off if I would have actually known what these students encountered on a daily basis. What I assumed and what was their reality was, truly, night and day.
In my infinite wisdom, I realized that what I didn’t understand about these students was slowly but surely, getting them further behind. By not knowing how to approach them in a way that worked with their reality, I was definitely doing them a disservice when it came to their education.
This is when my decision to research how or what to do to reach students living in poverty really paid off for everyone! Learning what a day in the life of these students entailed changed the way I did everything in my classroom.
My enlightenment was literally twofold - sadness, as well as amazement. Saddened that anyone, let alone children, should have to endure the way they lived, and amazed that these students could function in the classroom at all.
If you have even one student living in poverty in your classroom, you owe it to them, and yourself, to find out how to give them the best of you and your teaching.
Add my class Poverty and Education to your bag of teaching tricks to help all of your students experience success!