The Lives of Those Less Fortunate
In the 21st century, relationships between people have changed a lot. Not only have we stopped accepting such terms as “slaves” and “labor” as normal, but we have also realized the importance of equality. Throughout history, humanity has honored concepts of morality in order to proceed to a brighter future. Ever since the Constitution of the United States of America became the guarantee of the equality of people’s rights no matter their race or skin tone, the life of such people became easier. In this essay, I will share my experience and thoughts about the Johnson Community Center. I will also describe the problems that I have noticed in this school and propose solutions to them.
This semester, my task was to attend the Johnson Community Center every Friday for three hours. My job was not only to watch the children but also to analyze their lives and make my conclusions. Moreover, my job was to help the people who worked in this center. The group that was assigned to me was group 1, and it consisted of the kids from five to six years old. Mostly they were either African-Americans or Hispanics. The first day I saw these children I thought that they were adorable and even happy somehow. They were energetic, had a lot of silly fights. Most of the kids already had their own opinions. Some boys looked different from others; they had eyes that did not react to positive or negative emotions. It was easy to see how hard their lives have been. Another thing that bothered me was their overwhelming desire for justice. Children tried to prove their innocence to teachers harder than to show their knowledge and desire to learn. The children in the Johnson Community Center are almost adults. They could understand adults and their problems better than other average kids. The life they lived forced them to become grown-ups before its due time.
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In fact, there are specific reasons for children to become like this. Their poverty influences not only their lives but also the way society perceives them. The environment affects children in a direct and terrifying manner. Not only do people treat those children without respect, they sometimes show disgust. Just because the community does not accept them as equals, kids become doomed. They grow distrustful and frightened. In one of his books James Devon (2013) once said: “Poverty is no crime, but it is something very like a police offence if the poor person is destitute. Everybody needs food, clothing, and shelter, and they cannot be had without money or its equivalent” (p.73). This is what those children have to deal with every day.
Personally, I think that our schools are also to blame. The first problem that I noticed was that children in The Johnson Community Center could not get a decent education because they always concentrated on their poverty. They see how their lifestyle differs from the way others live, and this makes them distracted. The second issue is the absence of enrichment programs in this Community Center. Most of other schools have such classes as dancing, art, drama, or sports. Unfortunately, the lack of such classes deprives children of all knowledge and experience that such additional classes could provide. Not only does this make them less creative but the Community Center and the whole process of learning become irritating and pointless for children.
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Another aspect of the problem are the resources in the school. It was painful to realize that there were no computers in the school. The things that are usually present in regular schools seem to be an unbelievable luxury for this education center. It is impossible to teach children chemistry if you do not have any equipment; the same with other subjects. However, none of those appliances is available for poor children. However, there is a basketball court at the school. I saw children from other groups playing there, but my group did not play there even once.
The next problem I noticed was the duration of time when children did their homework. They could do it for only thirty minutes. It does not seem so bad because the kids are very small. However, the problem is that not every kid can manage to complete all the necessary tasks during this time. The troubles lie in the fact that some of them are more successful than the others and do the homework faster, then they start misbehaving in class because they are bored. Other children are slower and cannot complete their homework because of the noise in the class.
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Furthermore, the amount of attention the teachers pay to children is too small, and this is also a significant problem. Every child has their own speed of learning and level of understanding. It is important to notice the problems that each kid has and help fix them. Sadly, the people who work at the Johnson Community Center do not focus on every kid when they are doing their homework. For example, Nyana did not know the alphabet, but teachers did not bother. The gap between educational levels is big, and teachers should not only pay attention to every kid individually but also focus on their personal progress.
Another key point to mention is the behavior in classes. The teachers in group 1 had problems with keeping the class quiet. Some children were always quiet, and teachers thought that everything was fine with them, but, truthfully speaking, those that were always quiet had the biggest troubles. In other words, when children started making noise, instead of figuring out how to calm down the class, teachers found satisfaction in the fact that at least some of them were quiet. That was one of the main reasons why children had so many troubles with their studies.