Tag Archives: poverty

Poverty = Lack Of…

I don’t have a smart phone; I am poor. I live in a house with running water, a washing machine, a fridge, a freezer; I am rich. Different people would assess my situation in different ways. At this point we have to look at two different kinds of poverty: absolute poverty and relative poverty. Giddens (2013) describes them as:

Absolute poverty – lack of the basic conditions that must be met in order to sustain a physically healthy existence

(Not having the Galaxy S8 does not make me poor in this case)

Relative poverty – relates deprivation to the overall standard of living of a particular society

(This kind of poverty is culturally defined – if you are living in Britain where most people have a smart phone but you can’t afford one then you can be classed as living in relative poverty)

In my opinion, poverty does not only have to be the lack of physical resources. You can be poor in other ways. As I progressed through high school, I saw the impact of disinterested or absent parents on my class mates. It led to insecurity and upheaval and caused them to fall behind in their studies. Even if their family gave them £20 pocket money a week and £70 for each exam they passed, in my mind it couldn’t quite make up for the absence of their parents.

Looking back on my school experience, the wealth of parental guidance I received was amazing. Enthusiasm and involvement from my family and friends was key to my success. Even if my parents couldn’t afford to send my siblings and me on every school trip available, they were supportive in every other way they could be. They set boundaries for us. They made time to listen to our stories about school. They attempted to attend every concert or presentation given by us. My mum even occasionally put a note in our packed lunches (something that you pretended to be embarrassed about but secretly really appreciated…).

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that the financial situation of your family is not the only thing which affects your education. As a teacher, my aim will be to make my class a place where children can feel safe and secure no matter what their home situation. I want to offer them the treasure of attention and acceptance.