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Paul

Gorski highlights several misconceptions that teachers may have of families who live in
poverty in his article The Myth of the Culture of Poverty. It seems extremely narrow minded
to assume that most people in poverty have a weak work ethic, view education as unimportant,
and have a predisposition to addiction.

Because I grew up as a child of poverty, I find it easier to connect with children in a similar
situation. In my case, my mother fit into many of the myths mentioned alcoholic, weak work
ethic, and uninvolved in my learning. However, I had friends who were similarly poor, but with
much different home lives. Regardless of whether the parent fits the stereotypes mentioned or
not, my students have a right to the same instruction and treatment from me as any other
student. I find that I must be careful to not favor the poor students over those from wealthier
families. Ive noticed that I sometimes have less patience with students from more affluent
homes. Of course, students from all income levels have very different family situations with
their own worries and obligations. And every student has the right to a safe, supportive
learning environment.

Looking back, there were two types of teachers for whom I had very little respect. The first was
the teacher who assigned large projects to be completed at home with the help of a parent. I
didnt have parental help. I have very negative feelings toward one teacher. She was very
condescending with the work I had done on a project while comparing my work to my
classmates. In looking around, I knew that much of their work was completed by parents. She
blamed me for not getting help from my parents. I also had very little respect for those teachers
who excused me from work because of my home life as if I couldnt be expected to be at the
same level as my peers. My favorite teachers pushed the whole class to be better by having
high standards and requiring students to complete the work in class (no possible parental help).
Mr. Gamble did not seem to care about anyones life outside of his class. He had high
expectations, strict rules, and did not accept excuses. Everyone respected him, and more
importantly, everyone learned from him.

Based on my past experiences and current beliefs, I think Gorskis (2008) best suggestion is to
never assume that all students have equitable access to such learning resources as computers
and the Internet, and never assign work requiring this access without providing in-school time
to complete it. Having the same high expectations of all students is somewhat meaningless, if
those students do not have equal access to resources and assistance. Ensuring that students
have time to compete assignments in class, with my assistance, is at the center of my teaching
philosophy. My purpose as a teacher is to guide my students through the learning process, so I
should be available to answer questions and help as they work through my assignments. If I can
ensure that my students have an equitable environment with equitable resources (my
classroom) in which to complete assignments, I can have high expectations for all their work.

References
Gorski, P. (April 2008). The myth of the culture of poverty. Education Leadership, 65 (7), 32-36.