One particular underserved community of students is being failed the most by the education system: students in poverty. Education, as agreed by most, is the very foundation of a person’s quality of life in our current high-functioning societies. Thus, when the education system fails youth who come from underprivileged backgrounds, it contains them in place, continuing the poverty cycle.
Could the solution being sought out simply be to just treat underprivileged youth with the same tough love everyone else receives?
Push, Don’t Pity
Unsurprisingly, students from impoverished backgrounds will more than often experience trauma as a result of their socioeconomic situations. However, students in poverty do not benefit from a teacher’s pity party. They do not need teachers who will exempt them from extra schoolwork or excuse any academic short-comings as a result of their situation. They do not need a rationalization for why they “can’t do it”, they need a teacher. This fact means educating a student in poverty with the same expectations, rules, and consequences as everyone else in the classroom. Good leadership of and with these students shows them your dedication in their growth and success as young adults.
Most importantly, for students who often believe they are struggling alone without the love and support of a trusted companion, teachers must provide these students with the very love and support needed for them to overcome negativity and thrive. These students need someone to show them compassion and to believe in them while still having high expectations for their work.
Providing students in poverty with the support they need requires educators to form relationships with students by building a rapport through discussion, letting their voices be heard, and truly listening to what they have to say. Part of this includes being transparent with students about your best interests and goals for them so they may in return open up about their academic and emotional struggles.
To teach students in poverty, we need “effective educators who will not settle for mediocrity, who will not accept excuses for why these children can’t learn, who are willing to do whatever it takes to help each child succeed, who establish supportive environments where children learn to bounce back from life’s negative circumstances and thrive.”
A good quality education relies on so much more than just the content that is taught. The way a teacher approaches a student’s education greatly impacts the effectiveness of the student’s learning experience. Students in poverty especially need a strong emotional support system from their teachers in order to thrive in a learning environment.
Read more about this topic at www.efaglobal.org/on-education!