November 2015, Volume 19, Number 5


Students speaking to staff
School of Education interns had to speak with different “agencies” in the poverty simulation at InterAmerican Campus.

An Exercise in Empathy

Teachers are among the most important adults in children’s lives, which is why great ones can make a huge difference. Recognizing that living in poverty can have multifaceted effects on a child’s ability to perform in the classroom and beyond, MDC’s School of Education (SOE) recently held a “poverty simulation” activity at InterAmerican Campus to sensitize its student interns to the issues poor children face.

The activity involved SOE students interning in the classroom. With 73 percent of public school students qualifying for free or reduced lunch, poverty is pervasive among the children with whom SOE interns interact each day. During the activity, students were grouped into “families” and then dealt different scenarios regarding income, housing, health care and more. MDC faculty and staff set up booths acting as various kinds of entities that poor families often appeal to for help, such as social services, health care providers, even payday lenders.

“For those students who have never experienced poverty first hand, it was very eye-opening,” said InterAmerican Campus President Dr. Joanne Bashford. “For those who have experienced it – or are living in poverty – it validated their struggles and made them feel even more proud to be overcoming them.”

— MR

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