Teaching students who live in poverty is a challenge, and teachers are learning how poverty affects learning and grades, and how to help students.
At Washington High School, faculty from Escambia County, Florida, packed the auditorium to learn about poverty and education in a presentation by Dr Tammy Pawloski of the Francis Marion University Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Students of Poverty in South Carolina.
“If you look at the research, we know that low income kids are far more likely to be labeled as problem students, to be left behind, or drop out,” Pawloski said.
To Pawloski, poverty affects students with not only a lack of income, but also the denial of many resources that many would not think of.
“Here’s an example: sleep,” Pawloski said. “We know sleep literally causes changes in the chemicals in the brain. It changes how we move through the world. If we don’t have adequate sleep, then we can expect behavioral issues, we expect that cognitive functioning will be reduced dramatically.”
“Other resources are relationships, role models, nutrition. Those kinds of things might be absent in a low-income child,” Pawloski added.