Let me start this by stating I have two sons and two brothers. I grew up wrestling, punching, fighting, driving my parents crazy, and loving every minute of it. Currently, my sons are doing the exact same thing and it drives my wife nuts. My response to their behavior is often, “that’s boys for you.” With this in mind, I have a belief based on my experience as a boy, brother, father, friend and teacher.
This post has been rolling around in my head for some time now. I finally decided to write it after a letter I received from a former male student. This particular student was from a household with no father and he came in a very angry and confused young man. I spent a great deal of time, and energy working with this student during the year he was in my class. There were days when we got into heated arguments and days were we talked very deep and personally. In his letter to me, he told me that I taught him how to “be a man”, and it was something we would never forget.
My belief is positive male role models are necessary for boys in school. Simply put, we need more male teachers. I am not saying female teachers are not good with male students, at least not completely. Generally speaking, boys have different electrical and plumbing that dictates their behaviors and actions. To truly understand a boy, you need to be one, or have been one... Again, I know some fantastic female teachers who have a great ability to connect with their male students. However, there is an increasingly larger group of male students that are in need of positive male role models.
Every year more and more students are coming from divorced homes or homes without a stable father figure. I am not making any judgments about family dynamics or lifestyle choices but this is a reality of the world we live in. These boys need a stable male role model to teach them how to be a man.
With this in mind, we need more positive male role models in our schools to help these boys navigate the adolescent years that determine what kind of man they will become in adulthood. For those male teachers out there, look for those young men in your class that don’t have a strong male figure in their lives and make the effort to connect with them and show them to become a man.