Moving from low to higher income school

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yellowdaisies, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Has anyone moved from teaching at a low-income school to a higher income (not necessarily rich, just middle to upper middle class) school? (or vice versa?) What was your experience?

    I've only ever worked in low-income schools and I'm teaching at one now, but a lot of the job opportunities for next year in the area I'm moving to are in higher income schools and areas. I'm feeling a little unsure. :unsure:

    Please don't be offended - I know "Kids are kids" and all of that, but I also know that the two experiences must be pretty different.
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Me! I love my current school. I went for teaching at a 99% free and reduced lunch school to a 41% free and reduced lunch school. I have much better parental support. I think the biggest difference though has nothing to do with the kids though. My current district treats its teachers as professionals, which makes all the difference.
     
  4. ready2learn

    ready2learn Comrade

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    I have done it. I love the school I am at now. The kids overall are much better behaved then where I was at and a lot of that is because of high expectations the parents have.

    I will say that it is a shift and something that I thought took some time getting used to. Things I was able to do or say in my old school I could never get away with here. I don't think people look at low income to high income as a change that is difficult and while it isn't as difficult as the other way around would be, it does take time.

    Good luck!
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Gut reaction (on phone, I'll respond more in depth tomorrow)... The best part is more involved parents. The worst part is also more involved parents.
     
  6. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    I interviewed at a very high income private school. The interviewers stressed that the job was more difficult than it may seem. They specifically told me that the parents had extremely high expectations and that they children were demanding and often stubborn due to being aware of their privileged lives.
     
  7. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    The advice I found most useful when I moved to a high income school from my low income school, was from a popular teacher at my new school. She told me to:

    1) Fully utilize any parent volunteers. If you do this, they will love you and realize you are a terrific teacher. I have a volunteer sign up sheet on Back to School Night with areas like: field trip help, volunteer coordinator, math tutor, reading tutor, paper correcting at home, work room help and so forth. Keep them busy!

    2) Send home a newsletter each week with notes about what your students are learning, up-coming events and how parents can help their child at home.

    It's a lot of work, but so rewarding! Your parents will love you and show it with lots of compliments and little gifts. Different world from low income.

    Kids are kids, but your new students will often come to school rested, fed and eager to learn.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Just to add...

    Parent support is great. You'll have volunteers, homework will be done right, and they will help with any behavior issue that might arise.

    Parent support can also stink. Tons of emails, helicopter parent issues, etc. The best parents are able to strike that balance... being present when needed, but content to treat you like a professional that will let them know when there's a problem.

    You'll also likely have additional resources, which is a bonus. Sometimes it'll show up in little ways that you never really considered... as an example here, just being able to get Scholastic bonus points because parents buy books from the book club.
     
  9. teacherman1

    teacherman1 Devotee

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    Personally, I like the challenge of working in the inner city. To say that the kids are "needier" doesn't begin to cover it. I guess I've always rooted for the underdog.

    If you start the year off with a majority of kids unable to recognize the letters in the alphabet (never mind the letter sounds) and end the year off with 95% reading on or above level - you know you've accomplished a lot.

    It's very rewarding (intrinsically more than monetarily)

    As someone else said, the principal and your colleagues can make all the difference. If you're all truly united and working together for the benefit of kids the job can be great no matter where you teach.
     
  10. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    I am kind of in-between. I work at a public 'magnet' school where students come from all over the area to come to the school.

    50% of our students have to come from the urban city school district where our school is located. Others can come from anywhere in the county. So we have a huge mix up lower income and upper income students.
     
  11. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    I previously taught at one of the worst middle schools in the county and when I moved to a high school with a wealthier demographic, all of us were in shock. The teachers were appalled that a soft spoken person like me could make so much noise. But I am using a teaching method I learned while I was taking Drivers Ed in high school. I make it very clear at the beginning of the year that I am the one in charge. I am known around campus as the "crazy teachers who never shuts up" but, my students typically have the highest exam scores and I have not written a referral in years. I will repeat stuff day after day until every student is following my procedures. But at the same time, when the time is appropriate, I am the coolest teacher ever. I also make it a priority to call all the students parents personally by the end if September. I also tell my students I will randomly call parents no matter if they are good or bad. Just make sure that you don't feel like you can get soft. There are always kids who will have issues and don't want to play by the rules no matter where you go.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Thanks for the input, everyone! :)

    Thank you for the details - interesting things to think about. I am definitely not used to a lot of that...

    Thank you for these insights, too. I actually HAVE considered the Scholastic thing in the past, lol. I end up spending lots of my own money on Scholastic because I'm lucky if kids buy $20 worth for an order.

    I do agree with this. I have always found working in low income schools to be very rewarding, and I, too, have a propensity towards rooting for the underdog.

    Do those of you in high income schools find it to be rewarding as well? Maybe just in a different way?
     
  13. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jan 30, 2014

    True.
     
  14. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Every child needs and deserves a good teacher, regardless of their income level, IQ, or other factors. Anytime you work with children, it's rewarding to see them succeed. You won't necessarily get your "Dangerous Minds" moments, but you'll still be making a hugely positive influence on young lives.
     
  15. blauren

    blauren Rookie

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    I've worked in many different schools as a long-term sub. You don't deal with some of the same serious behavior issues in the schools in middle class areas. However, one thing I have always noticed is the sense of entitlement usually among privileged white kids. They can be argumentative and sometimes think they are on your level and that they deserve an explanation about what you tell them to do. However, in the lower income areas, the kids come to school needing a lot more from you as a teacher because of their home life. I do believe that it is easier to connect to low income students than the middle class white kids. The middle white class kids will sometimes have more of a wall up while the low income kids are seeking out the encouragement and support that they may not receive at home. You get more involved parents in the middle class schools. It's a good and bad thing. They give their kids extra support at home but you will also get parents who will be on you about things you say and do in the classroom.
     
  16. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    :thumb: I hope no one was offended by that question. It honestly comes from a place of ignorance and curiosity; I'm not trying to judge.

    See, this is interesting to me, because I have not always found this to be true. With some (not all) of my kids from low-income backgrounds, I find it much more difficult to connect with them because it is hard to relate to them. I don't know, I grew up as a middle class white kid (not rich by any means, but not poor), and I connected with and loved my teachers.

    I do appreciate the responses.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Here's the way I think of it... different teachers are better suited for different populations. I'm not meant for an inner city population. I don't have the right temperament or personality for it. At the same time, I know fabulous inner-city teachers that would have difficulty teaching at my school.

    Different positions and different populations need different teachers.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I've seen lots of entitlement in low income students where they feel that they deserve to pass simply because they showed up. Many don't even pretend to try but they want a 60% to pass because they are not cutting class. And since I teach HS, everyday I deal with argumentative kids that love to tell me their grown so they're going to do whatever they want.

    One thing I can say is that when I taught in a very high income HS, there were VERY high expectations - everything was analyzed and critiqued. In my current low-income district, I can get away with a lot of things because the bar for accountability is much lower since there are so many other problems going on.
     
  19. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I guess I'll never know until I try it. I'll see if I get a job and where I end up next year. I work well with low-income kids, so I'm hoping I can do both.
     
  20. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I definitely do, the kids I work with are great and come to school ready to learn. A big thing for me is the responsiveness of parents if I ever have a behavior problem with a student. For the most part they are on it if there is ever a problem. Yes, I know others have said that parents can be a pain with regard to high expectations, etc., but they can also back you incredibly and be very supportive if they think you are doing a great job. This is a private school, btw.

    Also, less behavior issues in the classroom allows me to spend my time teaching rather than disciplining, which is very important to me.

    I also sometimes think I'd like to go back to working with students in public schools that come from a broader range of socioeconomic status and demographics, so I understand your sentiments with this thread. I have done both as well, and found inner city to be very rewarding if in the right school and if you had good admin, but very hard in others.
     
  21. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I found this post to be somewhat offensive and racist, and quite a narrow-minded generalization.

    Why did you add a race description to just the middle class kids? Just asking
     
  22. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    :yeahthat:
     
  23. 2ndTimeAround

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    Not the poster referenced but I'll provide a possible explanation - in my area the vast majority of higher income families are white. Minorities, mostly black but Hispanic too, make up the bulk of the lower income families. When discussing lower SES here you are battling not only poverty (or borderline poverty) mindsets but cultural ones as well. They often go hand-in-hand.
     
  24. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Not speaking for the OP, but maybe all of her experience with middle class/privileged kids were with white kids and that's all she knows.

    I teach low income/inner-city kids and I have NEVER taught a white kid in my district and only 3 Latino kids, the vast majority are Black. So when I talk about my kids' behavior/issues, I mention their race all the time (although I am Black myself, so the race issue matters to me for other reasons).
     
  25. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    That's possible... although honestly, all the kids in my class have similar financial backgrounds (some better than others, of course... but long story short, none of them are anywhere close to the FARM level), and I see the "entitlement" type issues much more out of the white students than the others. My class is fairly evenly split between White, Asian, and "other" (mostly Black and Hispanic), and any entitlement issues I do see come out of the white students.
     
  26. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I see....I have a variety of racial backgrounds in my classes, White, Black, Indian, Asian, Latino and some other international families here for just a year or two for business. They are all pretty much from higher SES backgrounds, some much higher than others. However, I don't find the white kids to act MORE entitled than students of other races who have the same type of SES background. I think it just varies from student to student, and that really depends on the home environment. I guess I can't form a generalization by race based on my experiences.

    Maybe my experiences are just unique in that sense.
     
  27. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I later thought of that too, Go Blue.
     
  28. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Good insights, thank you. I do struggle with parents being supportive sometimes in my current school.

    I'm actually not as concerned about the racial makeup. I am white, myself, so I don't find myself nervous at all about white entitlement. My current school is about 96% Hispanic and about 3% African American. The higher income schools I've applied to in this new area are primarily white, but some are actually quite diverse. None are as overwhelmingly white as my current school is Hispanic.
     
  29. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We had a huge influx of wealthy families move in to my school between my 1st and 2nd years of teaching. The biggest eye-opener for me was how much background knowledge my wealthy students had in comparison to my low SES students. I tried to read a novel with my one of my 5th grade groups that took place during WWII. My higher SES kids knew all about it, had seen the memorial, seen it on the history channel, etc. My lower SES kids had NO background knowledge whatsoever and it was extremely hard to get through the novel with them. That's just one example but it happened all of the time. I also had a lot of parents that had the time and resources to help their kids at home- even several stay at home moms who would spend hours with their kids on various reading strategies. It made a huge difference.

    As others mentioned, on the other hand parent involvement can be "too much" as well. My lower SES families were always nice to work with during IEP meetings and very grateful for anything that the school could provide. With higher SES families, it was always a struggle. We'd often have 4 hour meetings (should be maybe an hour) where they'd bring advocates, doctors, their priest (not kidding) and just make demand after demand.

    Now I work in a "working class" neighborhood and I think it's the best community I've worked in. We have some low SES struggles, but for the most part the families value school and do whatever they can for their kids.
     

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