In my anthropology class we are completing an assignment in
which we find a teacher at a low-income school to interview. I was a bit
fortunate in this aspect of the assignment because I already know a teacher at
a low-income school. Well, I don’t exactly know her, my nephew attends a school
in Trenton and I was able to get in contact with his teacher and schedule an
interview. I am actually looking forward to speaking with her, not just because
she appears to be nice and easy to talk to but because I am generally
interested in her responses to my questions.
Most of the questions are in regards to the socioeconomic condition of the families of the
students and how that affects the students’ involvement in school and the
educational process. It seems like it’s an easy solution to just give these
school districts more money to solve the problem, but I believe that the issue
goes deeper than that. It seems to me that there is a certain mentality that
parents pass on to their children, for low-income families the passing on of
this particular mindset may perpetuate the situation that is faced by schools
in low-income areas. The mentality that I speak of in regards to low-income
households is the acceptance of their current situation and the disbelief that
are able to rise above it. I am not saying that this is the mentality of all
low-income individuals; I am speaking from my own experience and observations.
In my sociology class a few semesters back I wrote an essay on generational poverty.
It came as no surprise to me when my research revealed that lack of education is
the leading malefactor of this condition. As I stated, there seems to be a mindset
that is passed down from generation to generation, allowing each individual to
feel comfortable in their current financial state, this decreases the
motivation to become educated. School becomes nothing more than a daycare
center and the thought of moving beyond the mandatory grade level is seen as being
impossible or unnecessary.
What my research did not reveal to me is what it is like to actually be the teacher of one of these students. Her responses will reveal the truth of the situation; I should be able to find out if this mindset is established in the students early in life or if it is something that is imparted to them at a
later time. The importance of this information is that there may be another solution that can be implemented in addition to the financial aid that will give these students a better shot at life. My theory is that all these students need is a mentor, someone in a positive situation who the child is able to relate to and admire. This would essentially be like a Boys and Girls Club, but
on a larger scale. I think that the best thing previous generations have done for their children is apprenticeship. I propose that something like that be done, something that would allow the student to get to see, first-hand, the other side of life, to see that hard-work is worth the effort and mainly to show them that their current situation doesn’t have to be permenant.