A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne, Ph. D.
Chapter 4 - ReflectionHow many of you have students with "interesting" family dynamics? This chapter really stuck with me and made me go "AH'HA!"! After only two years of teach, I'd given up trying to keep track of my students' "parents". Payne showed me that people in poverty view legal marriage as irrelevant because they do not have any money or property worth splitting, so why pay someone to help them figure that out? It seems to change by the week who certain students are living with, who their "dad" is, who is picking them up from school, etc.
On the other hand, my lack of interest in my students' "parents" may have a negative impact on the students if they sense my disinterest. It is definitely complicated from my perspective, but I am going to try harder to at least be interested in who they are living with, but I don't think I will try to understand/figure out the family structure any more, as Payne shows, it really is continually changing.
Characteristics I noticed that might be valuable in including in a classroom include food=love and humor is valued for entertainment and personal character traits. What other qualities/characteristics of people in poverty do you work to incorporate, view as a strength, or use to benefit your classroom community?
How do you try to work WITH (instead of against) characteristics of families in poverty that Payne notes?