What new teachers need to know about poverty

What new teachers need to know about poverty

This post continues our #NewTeacherVoices series featuring pre-service teachers.  Today’s guest blogger is Chandler Lach, a Junior at Eastern Michigan University studying Secondary Education English and TESOL.   The underfunding epidemic of the United States educational system is a common theme that teachers have to address. This is representative of many public schools that I have seen. We see: cut programs, larger class sizes, and cuts to sports, music, arts and other symptoms.  I’m seeing this before I enter the professional community. Teachers should expect to have the necessities: heat, water, lights, desks, etc. but should not plan for each student to have an iPad or access to a computer. The number of students in poverty is growing. As long as we have impoverished students, our pedagogy has to address oppression and equip students with the motivation and tools to succeed. But in my experience, most  pedagogy exists in a vacuum. This is Bloom’s taxonomy, this is Common Core, this is how you teach a lesson plan. All of this goes out the window when students are too hungry to concentrate or being teased for their economic status. Education students should understand how urban schools operate and should be prepared for the real conditions of what is going on in schools.The image that education BA graduates will immediately find themselves in some picket-fence, middle-class, dominantly white classroom where everyone has a full stomach and nice shoes is condemning! Future teachers need a mindset that recognizes students’ realities and strives to change societal flaws. A K-12 system that reinforces these beliefs would have graduating classes that were prepared to achieve higher than their parents...
Educational technology: Teaching Tools or Toys?

Educational technology: Teaching Tools or Toys?

Is your educational technology doing what it needs to do? This New York Times opinion piece by Susan Pinker wisely questions the role of educational technology in improving achievement. Turns out computers and gadgets are not always the panacea they are touted to be.  Pinker points to research showing a decline in achievement among disadvantaged students once they gained access to technology.  Why? Pinker speculates that many students use the technology for web surfing unrelated to school. She also highlights the ways over-reliance on technology can weaken social skills. It’s easy to get starry-eyed about the next game or gadget and the impacts we hope it will bring. It’s even easier to fall into the trap of chasing “innovation” or 21st century learning.  The article cautions us to choose and use technology in ways that support learning. Read more: What do we mean by...