Saturday, November 12, 2011

Teaching with Poverty in Mind

I just have to pass this along to everyone.  I teach in an inner city school district in upstate New York.  During a superintendent's conference in the beginning of September, one of our district leaders, a very smart professional development specialist, spoke about this book: Teaching with Poverty in Mind What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About It by Eric Jensen.  I popped on Amazon that very day in September and ordered the book.  And...there it sat on my bedside table, waiting for me.  I finally had a chance to begin reading this little gem, and I wanted to pass it along to all of you.  Teachers who work with students who live in poverty have a mountain of challenges, not just teaching little Johnny to read.  Little Johnny learns differently that his non-poor counterparts.  One particular point made in this book struck me:
"Some teachers may interpret students' emotional and social deficits as a lack of respect or manners, but it is more accurate and helpful to understand that the students come to school with a narrower range of appropriate emotional responses than we expect" (Jensen, 2009).  
Jensen goes on to provide action steps which can be taken by schools to help students reach success. I'm finding this book to be eye-opening, and a true resource.