Understanding Children from Lower Income Homes

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It is a well common fact that the home life of students often affects their school lives. This is an issue that many teachers may find difficult to address because home life is not something that an educator can easily fix, or even not fix at all. Many different issues can be brought into the classroom due to the home life including, lack of homework, lack of assistant from the parents or even lack of motivation from the students. Often, some of these issues are more predominant in lower income areas/homes due to the lack education from the parents and sometimes the lack of assistance due to lower funds. It is often a teacher’s jobs to provide as much assistances to children to avoid the home life taking over too much of the classroom.

The first problem that many children from lower income family experience are a lack of support from the home. Strauss (2013) mentions how a common stereo type for lower income homes is that not only do the parents, not value education but are often lazy. Strauss (2013) however goes into details about how that these facts are often not true and the parents frequently do not have the resources to help rather than not wanting to. The biggest reason why this is important to understand as teachers are because the lack of education and resources these families have usually affected the child’s education. If a child is sent home to do homework and doesn’t understand the work themselves, then asks their parents for help, but do to their own lack of education they cannot help, the child is put into an awkward position of not being able to complete their work. This may have larger effects on the student’s education because they may no longer want to do homework at all, they may possibly put themselves down and assume they will be just as uneducated as their parents no matter how hard they try.

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The other big issue many children face is the digital divide and the income divide of parents not being able to afford certain things for their child. Gorski (2013) mentions both of these issues, including how over half of the students in a very low-income area did not have both computers and internet access; he also talks about how some parents are not even able to afford crayons and cardboard paper for assessments.

The problem that this brings in the classroom is that teachers can only do so much to help. Within a school environment, it is well known that there are often an only certain number of computers and resources for students to use and a teacher does not have the power to change this. It is also well known that teachers are often not majorly in control of the assessment either, but rather are told what the students must do by the Department of Education. However, there are some things that a teacher can do to help; some of these things may include:

  • Allowing children as much computer time as possible for assessments
  • Providing as many resources as possible for assessments (including paper, pens, crayons, etc.)
  • Having one-on-one time with the children at the beginning of the year to understand who may need more help due to financial problems
  • Trying to make assessments as affordable and accessible as possible for all students

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Marginson talks about how firstly, exclusion both socially and economically have become more common in the past two decades and secondly some about some of the efforts made to make the difference smaller. Some of these included:

  • Better facilities in early-education
  • Developments for those who are underprivileged
  • Better options for early school leavers
  • Better opportunities to get a higher education
  • Payment to students who need help

Many of these options are great for those students who are deprived of finances that affect their schooling.

When it comes down to it, as a teacher, there are going to be many different types of students within a classroom. Although low-income students are a type of students that teachers do not have a huge control over, there are little things that can be done to make education better for those children. It is also very important for teachers to know and understand as best they can what it would be like to do a student from a low-income family; many students feel worthless, don’t receive as much help and often follow in their parent’s foots, yet want more. It needs to be clear to teachers that sometimes these students do misbehave or do not put as much effort into school as they should, but it is not necessarily their fault and therefore these students need to me nurtured more.

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