A few months ago, while at a lesson waiting on my kid, I started chatting with another parent. He told me all about his son’s ADHD, and commented that “women teachers just don’t know how to teach boys.”
I’ve been thinking about that ever since. A few years ago, I had a four year old boy and a seven year old boy at home, and at school I had fourteen four year old boys in my class, plus three girls.
One of the girls had special needs and was in her own delightful universe, one was from Vietnam and barely spoke English (although she was smart as a whip and learned quickly), and one was a charming, utterly normal African American girl who was flummoxed by her limited choice in playmates, but managed well anyway. The three of them played house while all around them, blocks crashed and lego robot spaceships said “pyoo! pyoo!”
My life was dominated by boys. And it was great.
Two of the boys met each other at the open house, and proceeded to run around the room flying a red airplane. When I tried to talk to them about running, they were so kinetic they basically couldn’t make eye contact with me. And they were typical of the class. But within two months, I had squeezed the life out of them. No, just kidding. (Seriously, just kidding!) Actually, in the stability and predictability of my routine-driven classroom, all the boys calmed down. Some of the mothers were astonished by the change in their sons, and I was delighted.
By the end of the year, most of the boys in my class could read at a kindergarten level, and they dominated the house corner. Lego robot spaceships continued to take over the world. (The girls moved to the block corner and built houses and farms.)
In solidarity with my younger self, I love teaching the girls. But I tell you, I really really love teaching the boys.