Personal Reflection On Poverty

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3. Personal reflection
As a first year teacher in a school were poverty was the norm, I had to deal with many challenges. Not only had I dealt with being a new teacher but also with 30 children who to me was out of control. The reason therefore was because I did not have any background or knowledge on how to deal with these children. “Studies consistently document that most educator themselves come from middle-class background, making it difficult for them to relate personally with students who live in poverty” (Zeichner, 2003). I had to get to know my learners better to understand why they behaved in the way they did.
One learner in particular had me going up the walls, his language skills was very poor as most of the learner’s home language was Xhosa and the school’s language of instruction was English. Fleisch (2008) confirms this as a problem in South Africa as 70% to 80% of primary schoolchildren who are from disadvantage areas are not fluent in the language of instruction. According to Hart and Risley’s (1995) study, children from poverty backgrounds have a smaller vocabulary than children who are from more affluent families. Most of the learners living in these conditions do not have access to books or libraries and their parents were not educated to help them with their language skills. Poverty contributes to poor circumstances in the homes of the learners, they do not have electricity, enough food or somewhere to do their homework and these factors may impact

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