I did not know that bloggers were writing about poverty today until I got home from work and started reading some other blogs. It's funny though because I was thinking of writing about something that I think is in direct correlation to the poverty that is all around us right here in the United States. I have been disturbed for a couple weeks by seemingly insignificant moments with my fifth and sixth grade students. Here is a sample:
Two students arguing about whose family is more "ghetto" and who has more relatives in jail. (They both wanted to have the most).
While discussing the consequences of failing grades in school, one student, obviously imitating an adult, said - "they'll just say - I don't care about F's! I don't care about school - school don't tell my child what to do!"
When I asked students to think about words that describe their neighborhood their first words were -blood and thugs and people screaming.
During a geography lesson I asked a student what people in the Midwest do for a living and he answered - gamble.
I have tried for five weeks to get sixth grade boys to write in a journal. One boy had not written one word until the other day when an eighth grade girl came in to tutor. Now I understand they are sixth grade boys and I understand that the girl was extremely distracting to them, but what they wrote in their journals was filled with obscenities and vulgarities. Blantant sexual scenes - and strangely they knew how to spell the key words correctly even when they can't seem to spell anything else correctly.
Those are just a few results of the poverty of money, parenting, attention and education that I deal with everyday. It's disturbing. A few years ago I went to a seminar on the values of poverty versus the values of the middle class. Middle class America teaches their children to value education, security and achievement. The values of poverty include relationships, entertainment and survival. We were told that in a poor neighborhood the family that has the most children is considered the "richest". They can't necessarily have more money - but they can have more children. Food for thought.