Taking Trouble Out of the Classroom
About a year ago, a very nice marketing assistant hired by a very nice author sent me a very nice free book for me to review.
Initially I did so because I was thrilled that someone considered me to be a VIB, Very Important Blogger. (OK, so sometimes – make that oftentimes – I am quite frankly full of myself.) But here we are one year later, and I can’t get that book, The Trouble With Boys by Peg Tyre, out of my head.
Having taught for more than two decades, that’s saying something. Through those years, I’ve been Bloom’s taxonomy indoctrinated and technologically transformed. I can rattle off an alphabet soup litany of tests from TAKS to TASP from PSAT to PLAN. I have survived years of professional development sessions on learning styles, squiggles and geometric shape personality coding, color personality indicators, handshakes improving grades, capturing kids’ hearts, starfish stories from sea to shining sea and even a bad ventriloquist named Nacho something or other.
I have been battle worn, battle tested and battled battered.
But like most educators, in the end, I just sigh, shut my door and do what I do best—teach.
So for The Trouble With Boys to actually stick with me one year later, well, as I said, that’s saying something. I truly had a paradigm shift (don’t you just love those educational buzz words?), and that shift not only completely changed the way I structure and grade my assignments, it also gave me a different perspective on how I view boys in my classroom. Sadly – and as uncomfortable as it is to admit – I have to agree with Tyre’s assessment that both public as well as private schools too often view and treat boys as “defective girls.”
Her assessment was more than a bit disconcerting for me because I have always viewed myself as a fair teacher. When some think-tank study said teachers tended to call on boys more than girls, I made sure I wasn’t one of those teachers. When another study said teachers often failed to allow enough time for struggling students to answer a question, I purposely waited longer for my kids to respond. When someone somewhere said we needed to provide more stimulating classrooms if we were going to compete with the video-drenched culture around us, I whipped out my rubber chicken, fish clappers and a tiara. (And, no, I’m not making that up either.)Continued on the next page