A former at-risk student gives his take on what teachers can do to make at-risk students more comfortable in the classroom and improve their opportunities to succeed. Believing in them as well as keeping the past in the past do improves their mentality to help them succeed in school.
The radio interview with a transcript has amazing stories of two different schools on helping their students in a low-income school. Offering personalization for students as well as accomodation for their needs. Collaboration also is key: collaboration with the student, with the student's other teachers, and with the administration. They introduce the concept of VIP meetings; these meetings are for at-risk students, the VIP, their parents, the principal, and their teachers to provide support.
Building honest, caring relationships with the learners creates a safe environment for them to be in. Being a positive adult figure in their life can do a lot of good, as students in these schools may not have a safe home environment. Along with being a good article, the comments have stories and more experiences from teachers.
Elementary school teacher Larochette has seen great results in teaching mindfulness to his students. Instead of just telling the learners to be calm or quiet down, he puts aside a few minutes for a mindfulness--which looks like meditation. This can help the students cope with trauma, he states, and has also increased the amount of teaching time he has during the day.
Rewarding effort given by students will help them get out of the mindset of learned helplessness or giving up before they begin. Being positive and making the classroom an exciting place will help the students undergo the task of making more effort. This article discusses challenges such as effort and offers ideas for solutions.
One mistake that educators often make is thinking that because a student is from a low income or underprivileged students aren't able to produce anywhere near the kind of work as those from a privileged household. This is rather a self-fufiling prophecy and instead hurts them. It's important to have expectations for students, that there's something they can achieve.
Being mindful of the activities that impoverished students can or cannot do will do a lot to improve the relationship. For example, having inexpensive activities or a shared bank of supplies helps by not drawing attention to their situation. Also important is making sure each child gets fed. The free lunches are avaailable but a mentor teacher told me that having graham crackers in the desk to sustain a child in emergency situations. She suggested graham crackers as extra snacks.