pros/cons of teaching at low vs high income areas

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by fairfax, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. fairfax

    fairfax Rookie

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    Nov 20, 2006

    I currently teach in a low/middle income school - about half of our school is on free/reduced lunch. The kids, for the most part, have no manners, don't value their education, and have very sad homelives due to single/divorced/too many kids/parents never home, etc.

    I need a change of pace, and our district has many schools in middle to middle/high income areas...... what would I be in for at those kinds of schools?
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I taught at a school in a relatively high income area and experienced many of the same things you do now--with the addition of lack of respect for belongings. I took away someone's GameBoy one day (they weren't allowed at school) and the response was, "That's okay, my mom will buy me a new one tonight"--and she did. Many of the parents didn't have a post-secondary education, they had been successful building their own businesses, mostly in construction trades and real estate, so the value of education wasn't overly strong. While there weren't many single parent families, many of the parents worked long hours building their businesses, so the kids were left on their own quite a bit of the time. Of course, every area is different, it's difficult to make generalizations based on the "type" of area.
     
  4. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I student taught at a school that was near the ocean in a very expensive city. I student taught 5th grade and had a blast with the kids. They came from middle to high class families, but for some reason they were very friendly, polite, and down to earth. They didn't flaunt their materialistic possessions. There was great parent involvement. There were some sad stories about some of the students' home life, but they were still happy kids. All in all, I loved working with these kids. But, this was in Santa Barbara county, and the people who live by the ocean here seem so much more relaxed and stressfree than in the other cities (such as the central valley). I know I was much happier when I lived near the ocean when I attended the university. So, it could also be where you live.
     
  5. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    For one thing, your student's standardized test scores will go up if you move to an upper-class school. Even if you teach exactly the same material the same way.
     
  6. Miss_K

    Miss_K Rookie

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    I teach in a very high income school and LOVE it! (My BF says it's because I'm a spoiled brat too, so I get along well with my kids and parents :angel: ) I find that I can relate to my kids and parents well and they like that I know where they're coming from. About 6% of my school is FARMS, but we're a very large school. Out of 22 students only 1 has divorced parents, but they are both wonderful.

    I have friends that work in many different situations, but different schools come with different problems: low income - lack of respect, don't value education, lack of support at home etc. At a high income school there are problems too at the other end - over involvement of parents, over scheduling of kids, litigious parents who threaten to sue(and can and will) at the drop of a hat.

    I love my school because I never have to worry about my kids not being able to afford something(for projects etc.) and my parents offer to buy things for us all the time - baby wipes, snack, supplies, books. One parent even offered a teacher $100 for supplies, some teachers even get presents from Tiffany's from students(from 1 student - not the whole class! :eek: )

    Also, we're so focused on test scores right now so I'm glad that my kids could pretty much pass them if I stopped teaching tomorrow, heck, they probably could have passed them in September! I know that I'm not going to lose my job because my kids can't pass a test.

    I guess the education level of parents varies even in affluent communities, but most of mine have advanced degrees(doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc.) They are wonderful in that I act professional and they treat me like a professional(even though it's my first year and sometimes i FEEL like I don't know what I'm talking about, but I put on a good show.:) ) Many of my kids have nannies or au pairs, so sometimes I think its hard that they don't see their parents enough, but they are all well taken care of.

    So, that is my opinion about schools. I know people disagree, but we need people to work at all different schools - some people don't even want to work at high income schools because you can't live near them since it is SO expensive(average house in my neighborhood about 1 million with no apartments in sight!:eek: ) My mom always worked in inner-city schools and loved it, I personally never considered it...:rolleyes:
     
  7. gr8_life

    gr8_life Companion

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    Nov 21, 2006

    In the higher income areas, most moms do not work and are a great help to the school/classrooms. On the downside, some of these moms are "helicopter" parents -- always buzzing around!
     
  8. srh

    srh Devotee

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Yes, more involvement from parents can be a two-edged sword. I would say that for the most part, it is very welcome and much better than having no assistance and contributions to the classroom. But there are those hovering types....some who may even take notes in the back of the room and present them to you at conference time!! :-D
     
  9. herins

    herins Companion

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    Nov 22, 2006

    I never felt more loved than at the one inner-city school I worked at. There are going to be very different problems in upper vs. lower class schools, but also very different rewards. Don't assume that the lower class kids are less cared for, etc. It's often the rich parents who don't have time for their kids. Every school, community, etc. is different.
     
  10. Ms. K

    Ms. K Rookie

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    I love working in my low class, low income school. Yes it is a challenge, but that 's why I got into this career. I am the constant figure in their lives and they love and respect me more than I can believe. My sister used to teach in a high income, high class school district. While I have kids that may be struggling and lower achieving, she had kids that were so stressed out from the pressure of getting into a good college that it burned her out. I think it depends on your personality and your perspective - that's where you will make the best teacher.
     
  11. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    I have worked in both high and low SES schools and I would never go back to a high SES school.

    My parents are respectful and diligent. They might not be able to read, but they are involved in many ways.

    My students have amazing, fun, wild personalities - I didn't have this at the high SES school.

    The staff is much more a team at this school than the high SES school.

    I love my low income, Title 1, inner-city school. :)

    Kelly
     
  12. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I have taught at both ends of the spectrum. Right now I am in a Title 1 school, 100% free and reduced. The major issues we face are non-English speaking homes, living in a high risk environment, lack of parent support and education, low test scores, etc. But I love the fact that I can be a good role model for my kids. In my experience the higher end school, we had less issues to deal with and much more parent involvement, but it's different everywhere. Just my opinion, but I think it's easier to deal with a kid whose parents spoil him than a kid whose parents won't even take him to the dentist or doctor.
     
  13. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2006

    Children of all income and background levels deserve excellent and caring teachers. I believe that teaching is a "calling" - and so some of us are called to some situations, some others. That said, I am "called" and blessed, to teach in a low income, 75% ELL school -I have 5 children direct from refugee camps who have never attended school.My students make unbelievable progress. Will it necessarily show up as AYP on standardized tests at this point in their education? Probably not yet. My parents thanked me, through interpreters, for giving their child the chance they never had. Are they able to volunteer, provide treats, help with homework etc.? No, but they certainly give their child the vlue that education is important, and the teacher is to be respected.I guess what I'm suggesting is, teaching has plenty of challenges wherever you are...but if you're in the right place, destined for you, you'll know it and love it!
     
  14. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    You are my inspiration. Thank you!!
     
  15. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Grade2Rocks- I am curious about your refugee students. Are they from Somolia or Sudan? We have quite a large Refugee population in our school and I've never talked to anyone outside my district who has refugee kids. It is quite an experience! If I remember correctly, I think I heard Minnesota has the highest refugee poplulation in the United States. Last year I had seven ( but 2 withdrew) so I had 5 for the majority of the year. (first grade) They too came here straight from reugee camps. We are fortunate enough to have had Somolian translators or staff, to help with parent communication. i am curious to hear about your experiences!
     
  16. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    Kat53-Our district "clusters" kids by language groups in various schools, to assist with interpreters. So, no, our school does not have Somalians, although other schools in the district would. We primarily have refugees from camps which are being closed in Thailand - Hmong and Karen kids. My diestrict,(unfortunately in my opinion) places students by age, not their previous school experience. So I'm getting children in second grade who have never been to any schooling, even in their native language. St.Paul/Mpls. metro, by the way, is number 3 behind New York and LA in raw numbers of refugees; but we have per capita four times the number of UN refugees than any metro area in the USA. Who would have thought that of Minnesota?
     
  17. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    I currently teach at an extremely low-income school. The main thing I love there is that I KNOW that I am needed, and once the parents realize that you're there to help their children and not judge, most climb on board too. Here, you know that you're needed more than anywhere else. Once you teach at these types of schools, any other school will be a piece of cake.
    The negative aspect of this is that there are behavior problems galore, extreme external factors including homelessness, drug activity, prostitution, gang violence, low morale, 6 year olds who have already been told they can not learn, severe child trauma, etc. Also, there is a lack of discipline as many feel the children can't help themselves, and teachers often feel isolated and alone. There is a lot of nit picking about absolutely useless things.

    I haven't taught at a regular or high-income school, but I imagine it's double-edged sword. While parental involvement is greatly appreciated, you don't want parents telling you or dictating how your run your classroom. Additionally, you'll always know that you're needed more somewhere else. On a slightly humorous note, Homework excuses would probably change from "My daughter couldn't finish her homework b/c we didn't have a pencil" to "My daughter couldn't finish her homework b/c of soccer practice."

    I've been thinking about this a lot b/c I am actually going to switch to a different school. While it will still be a Title 1 school, it will pale in comparision. When you know you are not wanted by fellow collegues in a place, it becomes depressing to work there, even you keep to your own classroom. I wish I could just take the children I'm teaching to wherever I go...
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2006
  18. nancyb

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    I'm sorry to hear that your colleagues don't value you. You sound like you'll be an asset anywhere you go.
     
  19. rkfhop2

    rkfhop2 Rookie

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    I hate to sound like a broken record. I teach in a 100% free lunch, low income charter school. Yes, there are some students who do not appreciate the materials that I buy. When I got my classroom last year, I walked in--I teach Science--expecting to see science lab equipment. To my suprise, there was a teacher's desk, and students desks, a file cabinet and a book shelf. That's it. Not one piece of science equipment. And, there was no money from the school. In fact, because it was my first year as a teacher, I had to go 3 months without a paycheck, so I could not afford to buy supplies. To make matters worse, the overhead projector they gave me was broken. So, I spent the first 4 weeks teaching every class using the whiteboard for notes, erasing them after every class. It was stressful. But, now, due to a team teacher, we have built our science department, using ebay, half price books, and donorschoose.org. (plus, we now have a 100.00 per semester budget). I bet you are thinking I am going to say that I hate it and I wish I was at a richer school. NOPE, I wouldn't change it. These students (most of them) appreciate me as a teacher, and as a person. Two students have adopted me as their second mom. Every day, as students pass by my room,and I am outside my door, they wave and say, "Hi, Mrs. Hopper" , and these are students I have never had!! I love them. It is hard, but it is much better than having snooty kids, snooty parents.
     

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