Poor Students ... How to Manage a Career Challenge
Teaching is very noble profession and also a very challenging one. It probably is the only profession where one is required to bring young minds from various backgrounds together. Educators need to nurture every child in a very different way since every child is unique and comes from a different background so their needs also vary.
It requires a different mindset and motivation to teach and address the needs of children coming from such a section of society that has been deprived for quite a while. While teaching students from an economically weaker section an educator may face multiple challenges few of which are listed below with probable solutions to some of these challenges.
1. First generation learners: The first and foremost challenge is to bring these kids out of their homes to places of learning. Parents of most such kids have no or very little education and such children are probably the first in their family to attend formal schooling. In their families, the concept of earning for self is prevalent and takes priority over concept of learning for self.
In such a situation it is difficult to convince parents to send their children to school or make them understand the value of education. Offering kids free food, books/uniforms at no or subsidized costs can encourage parents to send their kids to school.
2. Language barrier: Most students from under privileged backgrounds use/understand only their mother tongue. Such kids are very unpolished with their verbal skills. Most educators would not be aware or well versed with the language the kids from such background understand well.
This is a huge challenge since it makes getting through to such kids even more difficult for educators. To deal with this there should be special classes/programs where kids are taught language(s) as a precursor to formal schooling so that they find the courses and teaching easy to follow and understand.
3. Lack of motivation: Most families in such sections are driven by money and not by education. Most likely the families do not understand the need or importance of education. They generally relate any work/effort with immediate benefits and do not see the long term benefits of investing time/effort in something.
So to encourage them the educator must provide physical rewards. No matter how small the reward may be it shall motivate the learner, for example if an irregular student has attended the school for one full month the educator must encourage him/ her with some reward in order to reinforce the habit of punctuality. It is also important that at parent teacher meetings teachers motivate the parents as well and praise them for sending children to school and supporting their education. If the parents are not willing to attend such meetings teachers could go the extra mile and visit the kid's homes may be even motivate parents to attend schools themselves.
4. Importance of hygiene: Something as basic as personal hygiene can be taken for granted for students coming from a decent economic background but students from under privileged backgrounds are unaware of it as well as the effect that it can have not only on their health but also on their personality.
Such section of society is prone to sickness since they are not used to habits like taking a bath daily, keeping their home clean, washing hands and wearing clean clothes. Lack of these habits results in sickness which in turn causes irregularity in school. So firstly these students must be taught the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation. They must be encouraged to keep their surroundings neat and clean.
This habit in turn will lead to a healthy environment and freedom from diseases. May be this can be clubbed with the basic precursor course at every school and can be refreshed for children and their parents at regular intervals. Random checks at home/school for hygiene and rewards as a policy can reinforce the importance of it.
5. Lack of resources and awareness: Poor students do not have access to the resources such as help books, internet etc. They are also not aware of the various programmes being run by the government and NGO's for them.
So while teaching them the educator should try to incorporate examples from their daily lives so that they can relate to the concept and understand it better. Teachers can also inform them about the special programs and help them enrol in such affairs so they could get access to the benefits. Encouraging other kids to donate books and creating a book bank for under privileged kids is also an idea that can be implemented at centres of learning.
6. Short attention span: Students from poor background have very short attention span as they are habitual to loud voice and noises. It can be challenging for educators to hold the span of entire class with many such students as the attention span of entire class is very fragile. So while teaching them instead of taking monotonous lecture mode teacher must use play way methods of teaching.
He/she should try to engage the kids and ask them questions in between, the teaching method should be two-way. Also, the instructions must be repeated enough and should be broken down into simple actionable items so that the children can follow them easily and then remember them. Making kids repeat after the instructor or asking them to take notes and revise also helps.
7. Patience and Love: Last but not the least one needs to have lot of patience and love for the learners because sometimes there will be students who will not understand and relate to the concepts despite of working hard with them. At such occasions it can be dish eating and disappointing for the educator as well since he/she is putting so much of effort into it.
So at such points the educator must understand and accept that every learners is different and learns at his/her own pace. So every child should be given the space and time to learn and grow.