An anonymous English teacher at a South Bronx high school — located in the poorest congressional district in the country — recently held a reddit AMA about the specific challenges of his job.
A few of the teacher’s most interesting answers addressed a problem that most American students don’t have to worry about. Many students in the South Bronx don’t have access to computers — affecting their writing skills and computer literacy.
The teacher explained the issue in response to the question “What is the hardest resource for your students to afford, and how do you work around that?”:
A lot of them don’t have computers, but luckily, we have a computer lab at the school. They have a lot of access to that, but more than that, I accept most assignments hand-written when necessary. It’s a shame, though, because many of them are computer illiterate. I recently took them to the computer lab, asked them to type something with right alignment, and got blank stares. I can’t expect them to use computers at home when they don’t have them, but if they don’t use computers, they’re not going to be ready for life after high school.
According to the teacher, even though he accepts handwritten papers, some students choose to use their mobile phones to write essays and other projects. He writes in the reddit thread, “I’ve gotten, ‘Mister, can I take my phone out in class? My project is on it.'”
He spoke more about the specific problems many students face because of their lack of access to computers, answering “What subjects are the most difficult to teach due to your lack of materials/ students’ lack of computers?”:
Professional writing. I can teach them the actual content, but translating that into word processors on computers is a challenge. Some of them don’t even know how to change the text alignment.
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