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Education:  Learning to Rise above Poverty 18

small society or community.  It is true that we are a product of our heredity, but it is also true that our environments have a great deal to do with our learning and abilities.  If it is true that we are a product of our environment, then why should the school environment not be included in this concept?  

From kindergarten through twelfth grade, we spend nearly 20,000 hours in the classroom.  This is a substantial portion of our lives, all of which is spent during some of the most critical years of development.  Given this figure, why do most people think that teachers and educators cannot overpower the effects of a child’s home life and cultural influences?  Education can be the key to overcoming poverty and teaching those in poverty to be more successful, educated individuals.  Teachers must understand that they take on many roles in the classroom setting.  They are seen as parental figures, nurses, behaviorists, psychologists, mediators, managers, and then as educators.  They take on all of these roles due to the fact that they are the single, most influential part of a classroom environment.  Students look to them for leadership and guidance, and they must provide these things to them in a consistent manner.  Teacher pedagogies and the curriculum should be based on what is best for each and every student, and the lives of the students must be considered in order to understand their strengths, weaknesses, interests, and areas of need.  This will ensure the establishment of a safe and secure learning, psychological, and physical environment for students.  It will also establish a supportive atmosphere and provide information that can assist teachers in developing ways to motivate and engage students.  The teacher’s personality molds students even when they are not aware of it.  A teacher must be kind and considerate, accommodating and reasonable, yet firm and organized.  A balance of these aspects must be implemented

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