Socio-Ec Background and Student Behaviors (or, "I hate white people")

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by AngelaS, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. AngelaS

    AngelaS Cohort

    Jul 22, 2002
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    Dec 4, 2002

    I would like to hear from those who teach in middle, upper middle, and upper class neighborhoods. I have always taught in high poverty areas, and just this year came to a lower-middle class school. The building is great, staff is excellent, resources are pretty decent. My students' parents have been supportive and the children are basically good kids.

    What I want to know is, do teachers in upper class schools have to deal with inattentiveness and inappropriate behaviors? I picture the kids listening to the teacher and generally doing what they are supposed to.

    I am not happy today because when I corrected another 3rd grade teachers' student in the hallway , the child waited until I walked away and said to his friend, "I hate white people". (I have 3 white students, the rest minorities, although he was obviously talking about me). Five minutes later, during indoor recess, I overhear one of my sweet eight-year-old describing a sexual act using very graphic nouns and adjectives (not that he could define either part of speech, ironically).

    I don't want to idealize an upper class environment, but my supposition is that the kids said these things today because of their family backgrounds. Is it like this with wealthier, more educated families? Is this what all kids are like, regardless of their home environments? I can say with certainty that these kids are better behaved than those in the most needy areas that I have taught in. So if I taught in an even more affluent area, would my students be even easier to teach?
  3. Maxine

    Maxine Companion

    Aug 2, 2002
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    Dec 6, 2002

    class affects class behavior

    Dear Angela,
    In all of the reading I've been doing for my Master's in Teaching class, the majority of authors state that without question, the home environment is the primary influence on the student's attitude towards learning. If the family culture does not value a "well-educated person," as we define it intellectually, then it's an uphill, sometimes useless task to try to motivate the intrinsic values of learning. The value system of the student will affect their achievement. You can have influence on skills and strategies for the ones who want to learn them. If they are not motivated by a sense of self-worth to become a learner for life, then all you can do is live the example, showing them that there is personal fulfillment in being an educated person. You are simply asking them to strive for excellence in anything they do, whether it is in a Vocational school or colege prep. program. It's not grades, it's being a fulfilled person who accomplished their personal best. There are standards that need to remain as guideposts in defining a well-educated person who can adapt to the constantly changing world of the future. Teaching in a private parochial school where students regularly vacation in places I only dream about, does not get you an easier class. The teacher has to focus on generating excitement for proactive learning and to be thoroughly prepared each day with no down time but have many methods of teaching ready to apply to the day's unfolding events. Children seek approval from adults and want to belong. Saying the comment about hating seemed to me to show the student pulling a shell of protection around herself because she took the correction as an attempt to diminish her value. You meant it as instruction on beter social behavior according to rules that are for everyone's good. She didn't understand that her selfish and unacceptable behavior was what was causing her to isolate her more from any possibility of praise or acceptance. The middle class two-working- parent homes that my students come from all have their dysfunctions and neglect. Often it is not as severe, but it's also less likely to be examined by the teacher who is just trying for calm and quiet. When I wind them up for an inquiry based project in a unit, they show many behaviors which are egocentric and competitive, exclusionary an not productive for a harmonic cooperative group experience. Not better, just different. Don't give up hope, there's more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. :D maxine

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