Building Relationships – Key to Success for Children of Poverty

April 7, 2007 at 3:53 pm | Posted in education, elementary, hope, poverty, schools, teachers, third grade | 1 Comment

Q: That’s a good point. What should educators and school board leaders know about the motivation of kids in poverty? What is it they’re looking for? They’re not looking for a grade, are they?

No, it doesn’t mean anything. Because they don’t know anybody that went to college and they know they’re not going to college. And then people get mad because they change an “F” to an “A”. Well, why? It was just a mark.

The primary motivator of whether or not kids in poverty will learn is whether they like the teacher. It’s that relationship. It comes down to two things: you’ve got to teach them how to live in the paper world, and you have to have a relationship of respect with them.

Dr. Payne’s work will be the subject of the workshop, “Effectively Educating Students from Economically Diverse Backgrounds,” at CSBA’s Annual Education Conference and Trade Show on Dec. 3 in San Diego.

From a Q&A with Ruby Payne 

It’s nice to know that my instincts are correct sometime!  A teacher sent me this link to an interview with Ruby Payne. I’ve already forwarded information about Ruby Payne to folks at my school. Hopefully we can get the training!

One of the first thing I do as an educator is build relationships with my students and my parents.  It is a purely selfish reason.  If the kids like me and know me, they won’t give me a hard time.  More than that, they work hard for me everyday.  My students have much going on in their lives.  I’ve said it before, education is a low priority for them, but a solid relationship with their teacher can get them through the day.

I’m not saying I’m chummy with the kids.  I’m hardly chummy with my students.  I get to know them.  They get to know me.  I show respect to them.  They show respect to me.  I am firm and consistent with them, they know where they stand with me.

In the morning, I welcome them by saying, “Good morning!” to each and every student.  That tells them today will be a good day.  For the rest of the day, I work to provide them a safe learning environment.  At the end of the day, I shake their hands and say “Good night!  I’ll see you tomorrow!” They leave knowing they are loved and respected without my ever having to say the words.

Some simple things I do to build relationships.  I listen to their stories.  I invite some students to join me for lunch and begin a personal dialogue with them.  I share true stories about my life with them at appropriate time (like writing).  I bring my family in to meet them a few times a year.  I go to their birthday parties.  I ask how they’re feeling today if they don’t look so good.  I meet their siblings on the yard and get introduced.  I assure a means of communication with me, whether a note on my desk or an appointment at recess.

These are all little things and yet it adds up to a classroom of enthusiastic learners.


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