Voices of Diversity

Chapter 5: Socioeconomic Status

By: Jessica Morris

Three Dimensions of SES

  • Income
  • Occupation
  • Education

Narrative 8: The Book Sale

Q. 5: Should functions/trips/events where the children bring/use their own money be allowed in a public school? Why or why not?


A: Luckily, I teach at a small, close-knit, caring school. We do have functions and events that are intended to support our school financially, such as, the book fair, color run, ice cream sales, etc. We also have a large population of high-income families and a large population of low-income families. It's hard for the low-income children to watch the others purchase whatever their hearts desire. Honestly, I just feel bad for them, but I must move on and keep going with the day. We also go on trips where the children bring/use their own money. We, the teachers, always make sure every child is able to attend, even if that means digging into our own wallets. Sometimes the wealthier children will fund their lower-income peer's trip by sending in an extra check. Although I see the issues in student's bringing and using their own money, I also see the life lessons.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Brainstorming of things I can do as a teacher to meet my students' needs:


  • Physiological: ensuring students have the means to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner; ensuring my students have shelter
  • Safety: an inviting classroom with doors locked; safe school environment
  • Belonging and Love: ensuring the student has a voice in the classroom, getting to know the student (interests, dislikes, home life, etc.)
  • Esteem: providing positive feedback and being mindful of the negative feedback given
  • Cognitive: recognizing the academic needs of my students and finding ways to meet these needs
  • Aesthetic: students need to be pleased with what they see and do -- we can create beautiful displays; we can change up the pace
  • Self-Actualization: help students explore their interests and hobbies and believe that they can do great things

Citation: Langer de Ramirez, Lori. (2006). Voices of Diversity. Uppersaddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.