Having teachers spend an hour in a poverty simulation has helped teachers better understand the day to day struggles of many of their students.
The Muscatine Community School District presented a poverty simulation during a teacher training day. “The goal is to get a better understanding of poverty and what students and families in poverty are going through,” said Dave Tometich of the district’s Teacher Quality Committee.
Teachers faced real challengens, such as hunger, lack of time, and stress. A third of the residents of the district live below the poverty line, and half of all students receive free or reduced price lunch. Teachers have many interactions with low income families.
During the exercise, the teachers divided into families and played roles of a child, a grandparent, or a single parent. They were to work together to survive four weeks, lasting 15 minutes each, making choices with possessions, transportation, and money that was represented on cards.
The room also had stations for daycare, social services, school, pawn shop, and jail. Teachers had to figure out how to buy food, work, and pay bills.