Poverty is an inescapable fact of life. Whether you work in a more rural or urban setting, there is a high probability that, at least once in your teaching career, you will encounter a student from a much lower socioeconomic status.
Economic opportunities are significant factors in a child’s success in school. When some are lacking in these opportunities, they tend to get bullied, perform poorly, or drop out of school entirely. Here are some tips to deal with these students.
- Talk To The Family
The familial environment that the child grew up in influences so much about how a child performs, interacts, and behaves in school. Spend some time and effort to talk to the student’s parents, guardians, or even older siblings.
You may discuss financial matters with them but be polite and respect boundaries when doing so. Both the teacher and the family should work as a team to maximize the child’s potential in spite of the economic hardships present.
- Provide Opportunities For New Experiences
Children living in poverty usually have limited experiences outside their town or city, if they have some at all. As a good teacher, it is your responsibility to provide opportunities for students to experience more of the world and learn more through this.
Read books, show videos, plan field trips, or invite guest speakers. Expose students more to the world around them, and broaden their horizons. Let them know that the world is an amazing place despite the obstacles they face.
- Talk To The Student Yourself
Sometimes, the best source of information for understanding how to deal with a student’s needs is the student himself or herself. Find some common time to talk to the student in private. You can discuss how the student is doing at school, what hardships the student is facing, what can be improved on in school, or what opportunities the student is interested in.
Listen to the student and build a strong relationship with him or her. It will encourage the student to succeed more.
- Set High Expectations For Them
A poor student isn’t always a bad student. Economic hardships definitely affect how a student performs in school, but that doesn’t completely determine a student’s long-term trajectory. Consider the special needs and circumstances of each student, but, at the same time, assess each one fairly and set high expectations for them. At the start of the semester, make these expectations clear so that everyone is driven to succeed no matter the circumstances.
Alongside the home and family, the school, teachers, and peers influence how a child ends up in the future. In the life of an economically-disadvantaged child, these factors hold more significance.
Children first learn how to behave in the real world through school. It is important for teachers to set as examples to these students and prepare them for the outside world. Poverty is a huge obstacle, but the school can give students more opportunities in life beyond that.