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How Teachers Can Better Serve Low-Income Students

By: Brittany Engelmann-- 2016-10-24 7:00 am --

It’s always disheartening as a teacher to work with students who come from low-income families and often are ill-equipped with supplies for the school year. Whether they don’t have enough warm clothing, are constantly struggling to purchase lunch, or simply don’t possess the required supplies to complete their classwork effectively, low-income students face a lot of difficulties in their education. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple ways that teachers can support these students and empower them to get the most from their studies. 

  1. Make Technology Available at All Schools

The most expensive aspect of any child’s education is the technology required to complete tasks on time. Many low-income households lack working computers, and nearly 13 percent of homes don’t have Internet. Ensure your school is equipped with an after-hours computer lab, so children of all financial backgrounds have the tools to succeed.

  1. Offer Sliding Scales When Applicable

Throughout the year, students are often expected to collect fees from parents to participate in fieldtrips, after-school activities, and more. Yet, for lower income students, this may not be an option. Fieldtrips offer a hands-on educational experience that are memorable for students. Yet, many are left out due to insufficient funds. Whenever possible, offer sliding scales on fieldtrips to families, so all students have equal opportunity to participate.

  1. Judge Projects Based on Effort, Not Materials

So often, when children are assigned projects at home, the well-off children come in with masterful presentations, while children from low-income families scrap together what’s available. While a beautifully crafted model city may appear superior on the surface to a hand-sketched map, both likely took a lot of effort and thought from the students. Always keep in mind that many students simply lack the resources to invest in homework projects, so judge projects based on effort and accuracy, rather than the materials used to construct them.

  1. Always Equip Students with the Supplies They Need to Thrive

While every child needs to be prepared with school supplies at the start of the year, not all families are able to afford everything on the list. The average cost of school supplies per student has exceeded $100, which, for many American families, exceeds their ability to pay. As such, be prepared to have extra supplies on hand throughout the year, so children can be equipped for the school day, even in tough financial times. By purchasing school supplies like pencils, pens, paper, and notebooks in bulk, you’ll be able to provide children with necessary school supplies throughout the year at minimal cost to the school.

The economy is hard for many people, and these tough financial times are impacting the lives of children across the U.S. As a teacher, there are a lot of simple ways you can support low-income students, so they can get the most out of their education, regardless of their family’s financial situation. The key to ensuring a successful school year is by making sure your classroom is stocked with enough pencils and paper to provide for those students who are lacking in the essential supplies. Visit DollarDays today, and browse top-quality school supplies at low bulk rates.