Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind

I recently attended a professional development session with Eric Jensen, the author of Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind and other books about brain-based learning and teaching. Although I had skimmed the book Teaching with Poverty in Mind, I was prepared for a long day! When I walked in and saw the tables filled, I immediately sent my husband a text saying that I did not know if I was staying after lunch. I was already and exhausted…I preferred to stay in bed and allow my body time to heal. During the first five minutes of the presentation, my mind was changed completely. I immediately got a cup of coffee and water when I got the first chance and prepared to stay for the long haul. And boy am I glad I did!

Not only was the information that Mr. Jensen presented was relevant for my current setting, it also made me think of my personal experience growing up in poverty. I sat there and thought “Now I  understand why I was so angry”, and “Man, am I glad I had great teachers”.  While I know my teachers contributed to my success, the presentation made it even more evident that I was very fortunate to have teachers that taught the students in the class instead of their circumstances.

Mr. Jensen’s extensive research is centered around how the brain learns and students in poverty. He presented several success stories from the schools he researched for his books. He also shared strategies to overcome many of the obstacles that teachers face with students in high poverty schools. If you haven’t had a chance to see him speak, you are missing out! I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and pondered on whether or not I should return to the classroom.

I will post more details about the workshop at a later date. To learn more about Eric Jensen, visit http://www.jensenlearning.com.