There are many situations that are included in the description of what a diverse family structure represents, and homelessness is one revelation. After watching the video of Mr. Keiley, the teacher from the Monarch School, I reflected on his comments regarding teaching and homelessness and found that I did not share his beliefs about if the child’s parents are struggling then the children will struggle as well. As the classroom teacher I would not assume that the child’s success or failure is a direct result of the parent.
There are many times when the parent is doing everything they can to help the child’s success in the classroom but they simply are not able to accomplish the goal they have set. Despite the circumstances children are often times very resilient and able to accomplish quite a bit. Just as in the video, Mr. Keiley was shocked to learn that the child was homeless, but was able to come to school and do remarkably well despite her personal situation. While at school, she focused on doing her absolute best and did not let the fact that she was homeless affect her thirst for knowledge.
She was able to put things in perspective and focus on what needed to be done in the setting she was in, just as she is probably able to do what she needs to do when not in school to adapt to the situation of homelessness. As the classroom teacher, if I were aware of a student with these same or similar issues of homelessness I would continue to do all that I could for this student academically. I would allow the student to come to class early or stay late if they wanted in order to have access to materials, technology, and resources to do their work.
I would also make sure that they had ample opportunity to complete assignments as well as provide any material that they would need. By providing information to resources and informing the family of programs designed to help diverse families would be a definite goal. I would also contact organizations to provide donations to families in need so that they could get clothing, food, and even school supplies. I would definitely want to make a connection with the families at this school, but I would not want to embarrass them either.
I would first make them comfortable with me by not being judgmental and showing empathy. I would make sure that they were aware of particular services that could benefit them, and encourage them to take part in community events that were open to everyone so that they would not feel singled out. Of course if they were open to me about their situation and comfortable about expressing what their needs were, I would help them in any and all ways I could to better their situation.
I would provide them with not only information but services that are offered to families in their situation such as shelters and pantries. There are quite a few strategies that I would utilize in order to support a consistent, effective, and reliable learning environment. According to our text they list materials, interactions, and questions as ways to support diverse families and children in the program and classroom. By incorporating students experiences, interests and real-life situations into the instruction is a key strategy that helps support the learning environment.
This way you can provide meaningful learning opportunities for students to help them feel a connection to what they are learning and make sense of it if it relates to them in some way. Another strategy I would use is to promote cross cultural understandings and the importance of diversity. This will make families feel important and as though they matter. I would also provide essential support for students who appeared to be struggling with the content by selecting and utilizing a variety of technology that supports the student learning.
Lastly, by making lesson connections to the community, society, and current events will help tremendously in supporting a consistent, effective, and reliable learning environment. An excellent source to implement this strategy is the TEL (Tennessee Electronic Library) which is found on the Tennessee Department of Education website link http://tntel. tnsos. org/index. htm. With these strategies in place, I have no doubt that the learning environment I provide will surely be consistent, effective, and reliable for the children in my class.
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