Three societal challenges that students face outside of the classroom are self esteem issues, ethnocentrism, and substance abuse. I think that schools should play a huge role in giving students the knowledge and confidence to deal with these challenges. Children can have self esteem issues for many reasons. The can be ridiculed by their friends, siblings and even parents. I think it is our job as teachers to reinforce the good that students do. We may not be able to fix what is happening outside of school, but I think that we should let our students know that they are smart, and special, and important.
Ethnocentrism can be a huge problem in schools. Students can be influenced outside of the classroom that their race is superior to all other races. This can then lead to difficulties in the classroom. Teachers should expose their students to different races and cultures and promote an environment where students can get to know each other. People are sometimes afraid of things they do not understand, and if we can expose the youth of today to as many things as possible then we have a better chance of them being open-minded, well rounded adults.
Substance abuse can happen for many reasons; peer pressure, depression, or even curiosity. There are many ways to help prevent this. Teaching students the affects of drug and alcohol abuse is a great way to start. I personally think that every school should have a D.A.R.E. program. Children cannot be expected to know things that we do not teach them.
I understand that many people fell these challenges should be dealt with at home and not in the classroom, but I feel that we as teachers do have a responsibility to the students. We are there to teach them and to help them evolve and grow into adults.