Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do About it

by Eric Jensen

One in five children in Oklahoma lives in poverty. If you are a public school teacher, there are children in your classroom without proper food, clothing, shelter or emotional support. Some of your students, no doubt, live in a household filled with strife and chaos. Financial, emotional and social issues result in stress on these children; a child under stress is less able to learn.
At the GE Winter Regional Conference this year, Allan Johnson’s presentation focused on children of poverty. This topic will continue to be a training theme for Great Expectations.
Each year all of the Great Expectations Instructors attend two days of training in preparation for the upcoming Summer Institutes and Secondary Conferences. At the April training this spring, each GE Instructor received a copy of this book to add to his/her GE library. The majority of the full-day training focused on the issues of teaching children of poverty. 
Teaching wth Poverty in Mind is an important read for today’s classroom teachers. The author skillfully takes one through a basic understanding of poverty and its impact on learners – behaviorally and academically. He provides clear guidelines for teachers who are open to making important changes to better reach children of poverty. He provides examples of teachers and schools that’ve had tremendous success with such students. 
My favorite part of the book is the final chapter in which the reader follows a teacher throughout the day to see how the proposed changes are implemented in his classroom. The author’s goal is to take experienced teachers from “How long until retirement” to “What miracles can I create today?” Teaching with Poverty in Mind provides hope and the necessary tools for all teachers to create miracles each day with their students.