For the first time in recent history, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools come from low-income families — 51 percent.
In Missouri, 45 percent of public school students come from low-income families, according to a report from the Southern Education Foundation.
But what these statistics don’t show are heroes — educators, principals and supervisors who step in and refuse defeat. Who seek change and fight for transformation and who believe in all that their students and their school can be.
In a speech addressing the National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly this year, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes — who as a child attended a low-income school — shares these sentiments exactly, urging her colleagues to never underestimate their potential to transform students’ lives.
“I was oblivious to opportunities that existed outside of the projects where I grew up, but my teachers vicariously ignited a passion in me,” Hayes explained. “Despite being surrounded by abject poverty, drugs and violence, my teachers made me believe that I was college material and planted a seed of hope.”
Hayes closed her speech emphasizing the importance of getting to know your students, and how it can be such a strong vehicle in the process of transformation. She urges educators to not act as mere “visitors in their students’ lives.”
“Continue growing, guiding and loving your students because you may have the next president, supreme court justice, doctor, lawyer, business owner, performer, volunteer, activist, or national teacher of the year sitting in your classroom.”
Bachelors in education students who find themselves working in low-performing, low-income school districts will come across a wide variety of obstacles and opportunities for improvement, from limited resources to low test scores, a wide ranging degree of disabilities and proficiency levels, poor behavior and so much more.
Bachelors in education students at William Woods University have a curriculum that focuses specifically on preparing students to deal with these issues.
In EDU453: Classroom Management you will learn to identify and address any behavioral problems in your classroom or throughout your school. EDU358 Teaching Cross Categorical Disabilities focuses on studying learning patterns of and performing educational diagnostic techniques for those students with various disabilities, as well as how to develop alternate educational strategies. EDU 422: Measurement and Assessment in Education teaches education students how to measure the educational context and design new techniques and procedures for enhancing instruction.
Education majors graduating from William Woods will be more than prepared to tackle any school environment and obstacle that is thrown their way.