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Often, Title 1 students lack the financial means to achieve success in the classroom. They don’t have the basic supplies or necessities to survive, much less successfully attend school. They come from single parent homes, where mom or dad works multiple jobs to support the family. Or both parents work long hours to provide the basic necessities for the family to survive. This leaves the oldest child with the responsibility of acting as the parent, providing dinner, helping with homework and ensuring everyone gets to bed.
Students struggle in these situations and face temptations since mom or dad is not around to supervise. It’s easy for kids to fall in with the wrong crowd and become involved with gangs, drugs, sex and alcohol. Once a student becomes involved with one or more of these activities, the chance of that student dropping out of school becomes higher. These are not the only factors that influence dropout rates. Some students start skipping school because no one monitors their attendance. Others must help their family out financially by obtaining a job. Title 1 students face an upward struggle.
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Teachers in Title 1 schools work with students struggling to survive. Teachers must understand the student’s situation and work with that student to meet their needs and achieve success. Often, teachers in Title 1 schools come across students involved in gangs, parents working multiple jobs and students at-risk of dropping out of school. It’s not uncommon to find students who are homeless, hungry or have children of their own. Yet, it is a teacher’s responsibility to meet their student’s needs. At times this task can seem overwhelming to some teachers, but knowing your students and what is going on in their lives helps accomplish this task.
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Bridging the Gap
So how can Title 1 teachers meet student’s needs? Well, these teachers certainly don’t work by conventional means. Title 1 teachers must do what is best for their students, even if it seems a little unorthodox. Teachers must stay attuned to absences, skipping classes, student struggles and new friends. All of these could be signs of trouble ahead. Below are a few suggestions for meeting Title 1 student’s needs:
- Hold parent-teacher conferences wherever and whenever the parent can meet. This may mean during a break from their job or calling from your home phone at 10: 00 p.m.
- Provide after school tutorial sessions with snacks. Teachers stay after school to work, open up your classroom for students to work and stay out of trouble. Offer snacks as an incentive to get students to come and complete their work. this may be their dinner. Talk with your principal or local businesses about donations for snacks.
- Provide students with your cell phone number or school e-mail address. Most teachers think this is a big no-no. However, Title 1 students are different. Explain to the students these are only to be used in case of an emergency and layout the guidelines. I’ve known several Title 1 teachers who gave out this information and students never abused this privilege. In talking with some of the students, they felt a comfort knowing someone was there for them.
Title 1 Student Struggles and Meeting Student Needs
Title 1 funds assist schools in meeting the educational needs of students living near or at poverty levels. This series examines student motivation, creative lesson plans, difficulties teachers face with at-risk students and proper implementation and documentation.