November 18, 2014
Urban Book Report
According to what you read, describe at least three challenges that are unique to teaching high poverty students?
Three challenges that are unique to teaching high poverty students are lack of parent participation, lack of or limited access to technological resources, and lack of teacher encouragement. Parent participation is very important in the development of children from kindergarten to 12 grade. While doing observations at the high school, one of the teacher’s made a statement that held so true to me. He said, “Parents think their responsibilities are over once children reach this level in their education. They expect them to finish the last four years on their own.” This expectation can be frustrating if these children have never had adequate foundational skills. If a child is pushed through the system and told they cannot learn, it creates another set of challenges for the child and teacher. One of the things I found to be true in every article I read, children tend not to have support academically because most of their parents are not educated. Most households in high poverty communities are single moms who have an 8th grade education and read on maybe a 4th grade level. These parents are usually working several jobs to make end meet. Unfortunately, limited education can cause a parent to feel intimidated by the tasks being they are asked to perform. The problem is not that parents do not care about their children’s’ education, it seems most just do not know where to start. This is why a teacher’s encouragement is vital. In the article, No Choice but Success, several teachers were interviewed and explained their strategies on how they work with their students. The teachers who gave minimal to basic assistance had a large amount of students who were not doing well. They summed up lack of motivation and accountability to the student. However, in this same article I read how teachers who went above and beyond their job expectation had not only a better percentage of students succeeding, but also gained the respect from students. These teachers supported the students during class time by working alongside them, setting up time after school, and allowed them to correct work. The students usually want to show their teachers how the extra support helps them in all their classes. In one article a parent was surprised by the extra effort made for their child. These tactics have proven to be very helpful for students to be able to help themselves. Even when they have limited resources. In the article, Roadblocks on the Information Highway, some of these students had computers but they were either out of order or were used by several people, which made time limited for academic use. Since technology is rapidly progressing, students to know how to use and have access to anything that promote education.
What new insights about urban teaching did you gain from the reading? Describe at least two insights that are different from the challenges you discussed in answer one.
The first insight I found out about teaching in urban schools is the educational gaps. It is sad to see that a lot of the behavioral problems in the schools sometimes stem from students feeling the pressure of being behind. They usually act out in attempt to make teachers not focus on their lack of confidence. This matter was discussed in the movie, Waiting for Superman. We were able to see how in the communities in places like Los Angeles, California the crime rate increased and more often than the criminals were former students who had been put out of school and now trying find a way to survive. A psychologist named Abraham Maslow created a hierarchy to describe human developmental needs. The stages are physiological, safety, Love/belonging, esteem, and self-actualization.