For Immediate Release
April 10, 2013
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BROCKPORT, NY—Stephanie Haibach’s student teaching experience got her thinking. Through her work as a student teacher in the Rochester City School District and her experience working at a Rochester area residential facility, she encountered a number of students with troubling behavior.
What surprised Haibach, however, was not that the students acted out. She was surprised at how frustrated and angry many would get when they would encounter difficulty with their school work.
“The kids would try to do a math problem and they couldn’t do it. Instead of just moving on, they would get frustrated and couldn’t refocus,” Haibach says. “The facility I worked in had a separate room for kids to go into when they got too frustrated. But even after going in there, some kids just couldn’t come back down.”
Haibach, who is pursuing her master’s degree in history, wondered why. So she began exploring their files—and found backgrounds that were very disturbing. These children, she said, all lived in poverty. Many witnessed violence in their own homes. That inspired Haibach to began researching the effect poverty had on children as an independent study. She presented that research during The College at Brockport's annual Scholars Day.
“I found that there are reasons behind the way kids act—it’s not that they are just bad kids. There is no such thing as bad kids.” she said. “They make bad choices because they’ve been exposed to bad experiences. They don’t just go to school determined to ruin their teacher’s day. As adults, we have the ability to check our home life at the door. But kids don’t have that same ability.”
Haibach was thankful for the opportunity to present her research at Scholars Day. She says it helps her hone her presentation skills, which will benefit her when she begins her teaching career. But she also sees it as a real opportunity to make a difference.
“I’m not expecting to change the world with this presentation,” she said. “But maybe one person will walk away with a better understanding of how poverty impacts children. Maybe someone will be inspired to teach in the city and will be able to impact someone and change their life.”
The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu