How to Motivate Baltimore Students Living in Poverty

Hunger and Learning

Children living in poverty often require extra educational motivation and care to succeed.

Spring break has come and gone for Baltimore city students. It tends to be difficult for students to stay motivated during holidays and scheduled time off from school, but this can be an even greater challenge for students living in poverty. My Brother’s Keeper is here to discuss the importance of motivating students living in poverty (and students in general).

What Time Off Means for Baltimore Students Living in Poverty

From the outside looking in, most students and teachers would be excited about time off from school. After all, you get to take a break, relax, play outside, and spend time with family and friends, right? For the many students living in poverty, time off from school presents their parents with extra stressors, like the need to put more food on the table or pay for a babysitter. For some students with ample siblings, they may find that they are asked to step in as the “babysitter” for the duration of the time off and help around the house. When you consider that growing children need sleep and nourishment to thrive, this is hardly a motivating environment. Check out our blog Educational Statistics About Children Living in Poverty to learn more.

The Importance of Motivating Students Living in Poverty

Many Baltimore students living in poverty also struggle with behavioral and learning disabilities that can set them behind their fellow classmates, making it even more critical for them to be in an environment that increases motivation, encouragement, and engagement year-round. Whether you are a parent or a teacher, you can increase achievement by motivating students living in poverty in the following ways

  • Listen to them, so they know that their thoughts and feelings hold value
  • Educate them on the importance of getting sleep for childhood development
  • Praise their efforts and achievements, no matter how minor, to boost their self-esteem
  • Expose them to real success stories of people who rose above poverty (whether it’s a celebrity, family friend, or anyone in between) so they know there is hope
  • Guide them to resources that assist with low-income lunches and other meal services
  • Be sensitive to embarrassment and bullying; act quickly if they are being taunted
  • Provide them with access to computers, books, magazines, and newspapers
  • Practice patience and avoid getting frustrated by disadvantaged students
  • Keep rooting for them! Never give up on your students living in poverty, as they often need your motivation and encouragement the most

Check out our blog about Inexperienced Teachers in Poverty-Stricken Baltimore City Schools to better understand the relationship between poverty and education.

Talk to My Brother’s Keeper About How to Help Break the Cycle of Poverty in Baltimore

To learn more about our youth programs, Attendance Affirmation Project, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.


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