Recent in service training provided an opportunity to have teachers walking in the shoes of students affected by poverty. At Lefler Middle School, teachers role played the personas of their students, parents, and social workers whom families might encounter. Everything from a family being evicted to struggling to put food on the table were the scenarios presented to the teachers.
“It is very stressful. Very stressful,” said Michalla Schartz, a special education teacher at Lefler Middle School. She spent the hour assuming the persona of 8-year-old Andy Aber, being the child of a family who has monumental struggles to pay the mortgage and have enough to eat after a job loss.
Lefler was the first school to experience the Community Action Poverty Simulation at the Food Bank of Lincoln, organized by Lincoln Leadership volunteers. The simulation is designed to allow teachers to develop empathy for their students who daily grapple with the problems of poverty.