Ready to Succeed in the Classroom: Findings from Teacher Discussion Groups on their Experiences and Aspirations Teaching Students in the Foster Care System

Ready to Succeed in the Classroom: Findings from Teacher Discussion Groups on their Experiences and Aspirations Teaching Students in the Foster Care System
June 29, 2010 Stuart Foundation

Although the issue of improving educational outcomes for children and youth in foster care is receiving some long-overdue attention, the voices of classroom teachers have not been prominent in the discussions. What happens in the classroom is critical for these students, as the quality of the interaction with their teacher is an important determinant of learning. In the fall of 2009, a team from the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning and funded by the Stuart Foundation convened six discussion groups to explore how teachers and foster children and youth interact in the classroom to improve educational outcomes.

This document captures teachers’ ideas, aspirations, and experiences in each of these areas, followed by an appendix listing some resources that individual teachers have found helpful. It is designed to be a conduit for the voices of teachers who have struggled to help foster children succeed in school — so that they can share what they have learned with other teachers, whether they are novice or veteran. As one teacher said (lamenting the absence of information about her students), “You may not realize that you’ve had a foster child in your classroom — but chances are, you have.”