Be A Man

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.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on the need of male figures in the educational system.
I understand the different brain wirings and needs of male and female students. Having been a "boyish" girl myself, I understand the need for more active learning strategies, the need for physical movement, the restlessness and the tendency to question authority.I enjoy having boys in my class - they are less submissive and are a challenge to the linear type of teaching (including what other teachers appreciate in girls - being slightly more obedient and hardworking).
I think until we, as educators, acknowledge differences in terms of gender too, we won't really differentiate our teaching. However, until male teachers choose to work in the system...there is not much we can do, is there?


Mr. Losik said...

I am a very proud male teacher from Hamilton, MI.

Thanks for your post.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that we need more male teachers in our schools and especially in the younger grades. These boys need the kind of guidance and role model that only a male can provide for them. I teach in a low income school with no male employees in any position at all (teacher, principal,custodian, etc). I think we are doing our students a horrible disservice. I think that even those students with two parents in the home can benefit from having a good male teacher.

Darcy Mullin said...

Josh, this is getting a little eerie, my second response today. We seem to be have paralell life:-). I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. I am the only male in my elementary school and like many (all?) schools a large number of boys are lacking a father figure at home. It is not my job to replace the father figure, but I feel passionately about connecting with these boys. You're right female teachers can connect with boys, but sometimes they just need a man.

kilgosclass said...

I couldn't agree more--and I'm a female teacher. Yes, I connect to the males in the class, but I am also fortunate to work in a school with a male principal and male PE teacher. I think it makes a difference. Boys need those positive role models.

Cybrary Man - Jerry Blumengarten said...

Great post. I taught in the inner city and unfortunately most of the students did not have positive role models in their lives so male teachers were very important for these young and troubled young men.

Tracy Mercier said...

Excellent post! We need to stop making excuses for not even considering to interview male educators. I have been begging for male teachers and I have been told, "They're not strong candidates." Maybe if more of us read Fletcher to understand how boys write, Sciezka to understand how boys read, and Gender Matters to understand how boys behave things would be different.

I would argue that its not just the boys who need positive male role models, but the girls as well. They deserve to know that not all men are abusive or submissive. They need to know that we are all human beings and that we are all capable of doing things. Because really when we hire mostly (or all) females what we are really saying is that even in 2011 there are some jobs that women do and some jobs that men do. Learning is a girl thing, not a boy thing. Maybe this is why fewer boys are attending college?

Jeff said...

Nice post Josh.
Unfortunately I have seen a lot of this recently. This year it has been boy's who have lost brothers and fathers to tragedies. For several of these kids, strong relationships with a male teacher have made a significant difference--at least in their academic and behavioral progress.

Thanks for posting!

Anthony said...

I agree with this. I also feel that all students feel a different relationship with male students. On Friday we had an incident at school that ended up being very minor. However, in the heat of things the teacher and students that were in the room of the incident didn't know what was going on. The students instantly were yelling for me (the only male teacher in the building at the time) to come and help. They were coming to me and not to the other female teachers. Why did this happen? I'm not sure, but I feel that the need for having males in the schools is very important in many aspects.

RIAZ UDDIN said...

We expect Male Teacher in Primary School.But they are not Interested to do Primary School Job? Do you know why they are not Interested to do Primary School Job?