It Became MY Mission
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It Became MY Mission

An Interview with Beth Fecher: Teaching Below the Poverty Line

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It Became MY Mission
Beth Fecher

M: What has been the biggest challenge when teaching below the poverty line?

B: The biggest challenge about teaching below the poverty line is you aren’t sure what they go home to. Many of my students are in charge of younger siblings when they go home and that is super hard to deal with. Also when they go home they don’t go to the safest houses. Many of them see crime on a daily basis and see the SWAT team come and get someone.

M: How has the election impacted your students?

B: The election has had an impact many in a way that don’t think about. They fear for what will happen when Trump becomes president. Some of them have parents that aren’t here legally. So they are concerned about what is happening to them when Trump comes into office. Many of them think that their families will leave before Trump goes into office. If they leave and go back to Mexico, some of them know that they won’t be able to go to public school because they aren’t citizens of Mexico.

M: What is your biggest concerns regarding your students?

B: One of the biggest concerns that I have is they don’t always have food or new clothes. The clothes that many of them wear are the same outfits over and over again. Another concern is that they don’t get the help that they need at home. Many of my students don’t have parents that understand English and they can’t get the help that is needed compared to other areas.

M: Did anything from your previous mission experience prepare you for this?

B: Over the years I have done many years of mission work all over the world. The biggest thing that prepared me for my job was the poverty that I saw all over the world. It really makes you have a love for people like that. Since I have a passion for working with these kids, it has made it even more rewarding. I have such a passion for serving the less fortunate.

M: What are some statistics concerning the poverty at your school?

B: 94% of the students are below the poverty line. In a classroom of 28 fourth graders, I have four that are on fourth grade levels. The rest of the students are between a third grade and a kindergarten level for both math and/or reading. This makes the teaching more difficult because of the different levels all in the same classroom.

M: How do you aide the students extracurricularly?

B: One thing that we do in school to help the students is After School All Stars. This allows the students to have an hour of tutoring followed by enrichment hours. Here, students can choose from different activities, and the program is over by 4:15pm with no activities past this time. We can’t do many after school programs because the parents can’t afford it and that it is not safe to be out after dark because of the area in which the school is located.

M: Final question, any general concerns for your students during the holiday break?

B: As this holiday break is happening, I struggle because many of my students will be struggling to get all the meals they need. When at school, all the students receive a free breakfast and lunch. Also, the students mostly do not have stable people at home to turn to. Many parents are working 2-3 jobs and so I am the only person they see on a regular basis.


Special thank you to Beth Fecher a fourth grade teacher in Clark County, Nevada!

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