We are less willing to let boys be boys in classrooms

Many parents worry that their boisterous 4-year-old son will never be able to sit still and focus on algebra. Others fret that their aggressive kindergarten toy thrower will never have friends.
Some fear that their toddler son’s refusal to make eye contact or engage playmates indicates Asperger Syndrome.

A new book suggests that the hands-on learning and motor skill focus on little boys is increasingly at odds with the test mania in our schools.

A new book suggests that the hands-on learning and motor skill focus of little boys is increasingly at odds with the test mania in our schools.

Now, a noted behavioral psychologist advises those parents to relax. Such behaviors are a normal part of boyhood and will typically fade over time in most children.

Anthony Rao, co-author of the new book “The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World,” wishes everyone would take a deep breath, slow down and realize that boys follow a rocky development path that may include troublesome behaviors.

“Most boys will grow up healthy,” he says. “When parents are too worried, they jump to conclusions that something serious may be wrong and focus exclusively on problems.”

Today, normal developmental phases can be misread as disorders by classroom teachers. Then, their inexpert diagnoses are too quickly confirmed by pediatricians in 15-minute office visits.

Parents leave the doctor with a prescription in their hand and a label on their child.

As a longtime practicing psychologist, Rao says the number of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder diagnoses has nearly quadrupled over a 10-year period. “We used to miss a lot of learning problems in boys years ago,” says Rao. “But now we are looking so aggressively for them and we are looking earlier and earlier.”

The problem, he says, is that reliable assessments are difficult in boys younger than 6 or 7.  That’s why Rao recommends teachers, pediatricians and parents delve deeper and wait longer before applying labels and adopting such interventions as special education services, medications or class pull-outs for young boys.

The checklist for disorders — impulsivity, delays in socializing and language, resistance to eye contact, problems in transitions, extreme shyness, sudden fits  — can also be a checklist of temporary development phases and setbacks, cautions Rao.

“Rather than rushing into a program to help troublesome behaviors, many boys benefit from a wait-and-see approach.”
Over his career, Rao has seen less tolerance of the little boy who can’t sit still or who is overly aggressive. Boys, for example, are expelled 4.5 times more often than girls in preschools — a rate that exceeds even high school expulsions.

This early pressure on boys to conform, a lack of free play and a surge in structured activities could explain why so many 23-year-olds are living in their parents’ basement.

“One could make the case that pushing their development so fast is leaving boys burned out and exhausted,” he says.

His solutions are basic; don’t push boys into competitive sports where dropping the ball brings not only personal disappointment but the disdain of teammates. Instead, Rao advocates that parents let boys try individual sports, such as martial arts, tennis or swimming.

Give high-energy boys a chance to release energy by letting them run around the house or out in the yard before school. In class, restore recess and give young kids 10-minute stretch and walk-around breaks every hour.

Rao endorses single-gender classes, saying new research from Florida suggests that boys benefit from it. Girls, he says, showed only a slight benefit from single-gender classes.

He also wishes there were more male teachers in schools, saying they understand restless boys  and that boys often learn differently than girls.

“Girls use more words. They are heavy on reading and early literacy and more social cooperation,” he says. The boy brain is wired for motor skill development and spatial tasks, and boys learn more by touching and exploration. (There are exceptions, he says, describing himself as a compliant learner eager to do what the teacher wanted.)

Today’s classroom is better suited for the ways girls learn, says Rao. “When you promote all this assessment and increasing standardization, you narrow the way you are going to teach kids, eclipsing the ways that boys learn better. You go to much less hands-on and manipulation of objects and to more sit down and lectures.”

Rao concedes that it’s possible many boys he treated would have outgrown their extreme shyness or belligerence without his assistance, but their parents were desperate for help.

“Statistically speaking, most of them would have done fine, but their moms were anxious and worried,” he says. “My role was to help them get through it so they were not suspecting that everything their sons did was a problem and then creating self-fulfilling prophecies.”

71 comments Add your comment

RJ

January 25th, 2010
11:14 am

Actual conversation with my son’s 3rd grade teacher – “I really need him to sit still. Sit up with his back straight and his hands on his desk.” My response, “Good luck with that!” He was 8 and that was a ridiculous expectation. Sure, I discussed the importance of him paying attention in class. But he moved constantly. Some of that has slowed down with age, although at 10 he still is very active. More teachers need to understand that boys are quite active. They learn differently. Not every kid is LD, BD or has ADHD. In the words of my son’s 1st grade teacher, “He’s all boy!” With 25 years of teaching experience, she understood totally. Let them be boys and adjust your teaching to their learning. That’s what I do every day.

ga

January 25th, 2010
11:38 am

RJ – I had a similar conversation with my son’s then-Kindergarten teacher. A 5 year old boy is not going to sit still for 7 hours in a classroom!

I am whatever you say I am

January 25th, 2010
11:43 am

I agree- let boys be boys. Also, let children be children!
I think too many people want to throw in ADHD labels and medicate children when it is unneccesary- they want this done to make their lives easier (not the child’s) and not to have to do any real work.
Plus, you can’t put children in a box. you have to flex your style to accomodate the children. All children are different.

I am whatever you say I am

January 25th, 2010
11:44 am

I’m in my 30’s and I can’t even sit still!

V for Vendetta

January 25th, 2010
12:14 pm

I think there needs to be a big fat DUH at the end of this article.

Nature Dude

January 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

Get those boys outdoors and involved in green exercise, and you’ll see improvements in the classroom. Checkout Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods”, and there is a new non-profit organization starting up in Georgia that aims to help with problems such as this, through wilderness/outdoor activity introduced through the schools. You can see a donor powerpoint they have up at mxsquared.org. Looks interesting.

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
12:28 pm

Folks, as someone who has worked with third graders for more than twenty years, I can tell you that asking an eight year old to sit calmly in a chair for a 10-20 minute period is not an unrealistic expectation. Longer than that, without a break, certainly is, but 20 minutes is perfectly do-able for 95% of all eight year olds. Saying “the teacher just doesn’t understand boys” is an easy excuse for you not to work with your child in understanding there is a right time and a wrong time to be bouncing around the room.

RJ says: “Let them be boys and adjust your teaching to their learning. That’s what I do every day.” That’s great, RJ. Except you do it with one child. Not 18 or 20. You may not get this, but there is a difference.

And by the way… when a teacher says “He’s all boy,” that’s teacher code for “we love him, but your kid drives us crazy on a daily basis and is overly physical in his play with the other children.”

what is "teaching"?

January 25th, 2010
12:35 pm

Greg,

Although I agree that parents must share some responsibilities to help students learnto behave in classrooms, teaching children how to behave in (elementary) classrooms is a major part of teaching. Schooling is such an unnatural context for most children, and they need to learn to act in that environment. Unlike other places (e.g., stores, theaters, restaurants, churches, etc.) parents are not with children to teach them how to behave in classrooms. Moreover, each teacher has different expectations. Thus, teachers must share the major responsibility of teaching primary school students how to behave in classrooms. When they don’t do good enough job, then their colleagues who teach upper grades must deal with the consequences.

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
12:35 pm

Okay, so maybe my last post was a little harsh, so let me say one or two more things:

Yes, ADHD is being over diagnosed lately. There are plenty of kids who are being medicated at an early age when it is entirely unncessary. Peidiatricians do not help when then diagnose ADD or ADHD when they haven’t really received any formalized training in these conditions.

But let’s not go too far in the other directon, either. There is a time and a place for everything, and helping children to learn to self-regulate their impulsive behavior is an important part of the learning process. It simply has be done in the right way. Parents and teachers have to be operating with the same goal in mind. When a child is five or six, realisitic expectations are for less abilty to exibit self-control. By nine or ten, it is perfectly reasonable to ask a child to practice self-control for short periods of time.

P F

January 25th, 2010
12:38 pm

When my son was in 4th grade, his teacher wanted to have a conference about his behavior. We went and were told that he constantly disrupted the class. When we asked when he did it, she stated it was when everyone was taking a test. She said that we needed to take him to the doctor and get him on some medication because he had ADHD. I asked her how were his grades. She said the top 2-3 in the class. I asked her if he was the first one finished. She said yes, usualy. I asked what did he do once he was finished. She said that he would sit at his desk for a few minutes, then start talking to other students while they were finishing their test. I was tempted to ask her where she had received her degree to make sure that my son would not go to THAT college of “higher learning”. I told her that he was BORED! That the next time he finished before anyone else, give him more work to do or another assignment. If that didn’t work, then we would take her suggestion under consideration. Guess what. It worked. Teachers today do not want to teach kids. They want drugged out cookie-cut-zombies. But kids have personalities. They all learn at different levels. Back in the day, teachers use to be able to manage and excel at handling 26 different personalities and needs. I guess teaching a class to pass a standardized test means more than teaching a young mind these days.

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
12:40 pm

“Although I agree that parents must share some responsibilities to help students learnto behave in classrooms, teaching children how to behave in (elementary) classrooms is a major part of teaching. Schooling is such an unnatural context for most children, and they need to learn to act in that environment.”

What is teaching, I completely agree with you. My only real point is that when someone says that askng an eight year old to sit calmly at a desk for a reasonably short period of time is an “unrealistic expectation,” as an earlier poster here did, then they are placing blame for their child’s inability to self-regulate upon the teacher, “washing their hands,” so to speak, of any part in helping the child to learn this behavior. Without having the parents at home on board, the best teachers in the world are almost certainly doomed to limited success.

Boys be girly boys.

January 25th, 2010
12:41 pm

Sure, let em explore. This is the Gayest City in America you know.

catlady

January 25th, 2010
12:44 pm

Greg–are you my twin? Everything you have said is what I said as I read the responses!

My son as a traumatic brain injury that happened when he was 4. He also suffers from PTSD. He was a normally active kid before that. But I was not willing to let the “he’s all boy”–you are right, that is codespeak–be the answer for every misbehavior. You see, in the real world, unless you are being tried for murder, no one gives you slack about how you suffered as a child, how you are all boy, how the schools didn’t serve your needs. YOU have to fit in! For some it is harder than others.

And I don’t think many of our classrooms and the emphasis on testing fit the needs of our girls, either!

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
12:47 pm

“Teachers today do not want to teach kids. They want drugged out cookie-cut-zombies. But kids have personalities. They all learn at different levels. Back in the day, teachers use to be able to manage and excel at handling 26 different personalities and needs. I guess teaching a class to pass a standardized test means more than teaching a young mind these days.”

What an awful, cynical thing to say. P F, do us all a favor and don’t base your comments on the hundreds of thousands of fantastic teachers in public and private school classrooms throughout this country just because you had one bad experience with a teacher who did not handle you child’s misbehavior the right way.

Lord. These kinds of people are why so many leave teaching after the first few years. More often than not it’s not that the kids are bad… it’s parents like P F.

catlady

January 25th, 2010
12:48 pm

Also, (I knew someone would say it) forget that “he was bored” stuff. A gifted kid CAN find something quiet and worthwhile to do while they wait for others.

And yes, parents DO prepare their kids for school in ways like behavior, by teaching toddlers to “shush” during church, by expecting them to stay in their carseats no matter what, or by making age-inappropriate excuses for them!

DW

January 25th, 2010
12:54 pm

Let’s add to that year round school.
“This early pressure on boys to conform, a lack of free play and a surge in structured activities could explain why so many 23-year-olds are living in their parents’ basement.” I think year round shcool is adding to the problems. I agree with the earlier post, we need more male teachers.

RJ

January 25th, 2010
12:54 pm

@Greg, Marietta, GA, I’ve been teaching 15 years. I speak of what I do on a daily basis. And if he was a real disruption, which at times he was, she would’ve told me because we had that kind of relationship. Furthermore, I never said it was only 15-20 minutes. The school didn’t give kids recess, they were expected to sit in desks all day without movement. They couldn’t even talk at lunch. Needless to say, he’s in private school today. Problem solved.

K Teacher

January 25th, 2010
12:56 pm

Until parents rise up and say “enough,” their boys will continue to be labeled special ed, ADHD and such. Give them a chance to mature a little. I recently completed my Master’s research on helping boys succeed in the classroom. Some suggest boys shouldn’t even start school until 6-yrs-old, and possibly even 7-yrs-old, due to their lack of developmental skills as compared to girls the same age. Many point out how our classrooms are by design geared towards a female population … sit still; socialize when told; recess if we have time to work it in …

In my class, boys — and girls — are allowed to stand at their desk if they prefer, converse softly as long as they are not disturbing others and getting their work done, lie on the floor, sit, crawl under a table, etc while reading (as much as a 5-yr-old can read anyway) and are taken outside for recess everyday (weather permitting — and we sometimes walk around under the catwalks even if it’s raining.) It pains me to see how many of my co-teachers rarely take their students outside for recess, especially when we only have 30 minutes per week for organized PE at our school. But, I’m told, we have so much to cover to get ready for “the test” that recess a luxury that is used only as an occasional reward.

While I understand there are times my students must sit and write or sit and listen to a story, and they like they know when that time comes. However, it is unrealistic to believe a boy (and in many cases, a girl) can sit for long periods and still be productive and on task whether in kindergarten or 3rd grade, or 8th grade.

catlady

January 25th, 2010
12:58 pm

RJ: “sit up with his back straight and hands on desk” sounds like REading First (President Bush’s baby) that requires the teacher to require that of every student during the entire 2 hours and 40 minutes of reading instruction per day. So it may not be the teacher with the unrealistic expectations…

catlady

January 25th, 2010
1:02 pm

RJ, glad your son is in a better situation for his learning now.

Kids are like plants: they need water and dirt and sun. Our kids don’t get that anymore in school and they don’t usually get it at home, either. (everyone is too busy, the neighborhood isn’t safe, lots of “structured recreational activities, the TV/computer/Xbox is calling, etc).

RJ

January 25th, 2010
1:03 pm

Also, gifted kids don’t always know how to keep themselves busy quietly when they’re 6. Teachers should be prepared to give extra work to kids that can already do the work they’re given. It’s called differentiated instruction.

Bob

January 25th, 2010
1:06 pm

“Get those boys outdoors and involved in green exercise” Do we have to reinvent playground activities ? How about a game of dodgeball or tag, that is green enough.

catlady

January 25th, 2010
1:10 pm

Actually, I disagree with you about “extra work” meaning “differentiated instruction”. Nothing like rewarding a bright kid with extra work!

My son was fortunate; even with his brain injury his IQ was measured at over 160. He read at 5th grade level in first grade, and his teachers tried to differentiate for him even back then (over 20 years ago) by letting him show mastery and move on. He was allowed to read and draw when he finished, and was able to study things of interest to him. In first grade he focused on maritime disasters/marine archaeology, in second it was air disasters, in 3rd it was the Civil war (see a trend on his intersts?) Thank God he was not in school for NCLB (or my daughters, either)!

ga

January 25th, 2010
1:13 pm

to any educator who suggests a child needs to be medicated — I say pffffft. It was suggested to me, by an educator – not a doctor that my child might have adhd tendencies. Oh really??! Turned out to be not true.

JATL

January 25th, 2010
1:14 pm

RECESS!!!! K-3 needs to recesses per day and 4-6 need one! Boys and girls have lots of problems sitting still and paying attention because they have TONS of energy, and they need more time to expel it than they’re getting. I have an “all-boy” 3 year old, and while sometimes his behavior disturbs me, at this point I believe it’s pretty normal. We’ve been to a child psychologist and I’ve talked to his preschool teachers in depth and read LOTS of books and info, but everyone has basically come to the conclusion that he’s a regular rambunctious boy and a lot of my worry is due to today’s politically correct ideas that even little kids should never hit, never shove, never kick, etc. I’m not saying it’s ok and shouldn’t be corrected -I’m saying that it’s normal for them to do it.

Uncle Commode

January 25th, 2010
1:21 pm

Most parents are raising their boys to be sensitive sniveling little cry babies/wussies.

Shame on you!!

NO SUCH!!

January 25th, 2010
1:23 pm

NO SUCH THING AS ADD,ADHA OR ABCDEFG!!! All a big scam to get your kids on meds….

Nature Dude

January 25th, 2010
1:47 pm

Actually Bob, kids today spend an average of 9.5 hours less outdoors each week than in 1980, and only 27% of elementary students spend time outdoors in recess, or in PE. Lack of self-directed play in the outdoors stifles childrens’ creativity and ability to to become self reliant. I can show you dozens of studies to support this, and if you talk to any 20+ year veteran kindergarten teacher she or he will tell you the kids are not benefitting from all of this new learning being pushed on them in the name of passing state tests. Kids need to play, period Albert Einstein had a sign hanging above his office door that sums up this idea. “Not all that counts can be counted, and not all that’s counted counts.”

retired

January 25th, 2010
1:48 pm

I worked once in a rural school. 25% of the students were in Special Education..most ADHD. These were 16 year olds who could not sit and behave in a 50 minute History or English class. Excuses had been made since first grade, second grade. I will say they were smart and when I explained my rules and consequences all but one or two did what was expected. It turns out one or two docs in town tested all the kids and the system got much of their money from sp ed funds. They are on more permanent monitoring now.
Your children can learn age appropriate behavior. They are not, for the most part, ADHA or anything else. By 6th grade they should have a 30-45 minute or better attention span and they should know how to appropriately entertain themselves when finished with work. The truely smart children I have taught over 30 years entertain themselves well and were never bored. Do not allow children to use “boring” and an excuse.

spagmph

January 25th, 2010
1:50 pm

Here is a mothers funny yet poignant account of her son’s Asperger’s syndrome (in the autistic spectrum disorder) diagnosis. http://itriagehealth.com/health-blog/someone-is-walking-out-of-here-with-a-prescription

Dolly the Lllama

January 25th, 2010
1:55 pm

Nature Dude, you’re half right. I know of a kid (6 year-old) who was “written up” because he picked up a dead bird on the playground. What healthy, well-adjusted boys is not fascinated by a dead animal? the parents of another boy (same school) were called in for a meeting with the boy’s teacher because he (also 6 years-old) “likes guns and knives”? and, as one of the confused parents confessed, “this assessment of my son was offered by a twenty year-old wearing Birkenstocks and had the word NAMASTE (yoga mantra) tattooed on her arm. NO SUCH is right, most of these scenarios (ADD diagnosis) are to get the kids on meds (Big Pharm).

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
2:00 pm

Giving a bright child who has finished an assignment additional work would be described as “dfferentiated instruction” only by the most mediocre of teachers.

And I know it’s bad out there in some places, but I’m pretty confident in saying that there are no public schools who are requiring their third graders to sit silently at a desk and at lunch for seven hours a day, with no breaks. Methinks we’re hearing a little bit of exaggeration.

Nature Dude

January 25th, 2010
2:01 pm

Dolly I don’t disagree, and I can point out two individuals by the name of Ansel Adams and John Muir who were classified as rambunctious. Adams was kicked out of several schools around 1900 for being “hyperactive”, outdoor activities helped to calm and focus him, and we know he went on to be one of the great nature photographers of the twentieth century. As for Muir, he wrote of often running along the beach with a self made gun, made from a lead pipe, shooting at seagulls. He ended up the father of the modern day environmental movement.

In our zeal to classify everything we often miss many things. Drugs can serve their place for some, but look back to when you were a kid, the things you did, the places you played, and explored. How many parents are letting their kids do the same today, and by the way it is no more dangerous than it was back then, media has simply convinced most that it is. It’s time we let children be children again, they’ll end up better adults!

Joy in Teaching

January 25th, 2010
2:06 pm

@ PF I agree that if a kid does finish first, gets bored and misbehaves then they should be given something to keep them occupied while the rest of the class finishes.

BUT…some of us do not have even have class sets of books. And some of us do not have printers or access to working copiers (most of the time). So…then what? It can be difficult when one’s hands are tied by the system.

RJ

January 25th, 2010
2:14 pm

@Greg, Marietta, GA, welcome to APS where test scores come first! Don’t assume all schools run like yours, or the ones you’ve taught in. Also, I didn’t mean literally not moving, in case you couldn’t figure that out, I meant for most of the day. They had restroom breaks, but no centers, no recess and silent lunch. BTW, glad to hear you’re such an outstanding teacher. I’m sure we’ll read about you somewhere soon. Until then, thanks to the mediocre teachers that gave my gifted child additional work while he was in their classes. He was reading when he started pre-k. Imagine how difficult 1st grade was to him? We can all agree to disagree. There’s no one right answer. But if we ignore the fact that there are differences between boys and girls learning styles, we’ll continue to lose our boys. We’ll lose our girls too if we don’t let kids have recess, socialize at lunch and get back to the business of being kids. NCLB has really hurt our kids.

I should be working

January 25th, 2010
2:32 pm

This is all one big related issue it seems. The kids fail to behave partly due to poor parenting, substandard teachers (but I do feel for these govt school teachers handcuffed by the feds on how they can teach) and lack of physical activity during school…..they need Recess as it was once defined.

Maybe then we would have more well adjusted students and a few less fat kids on drugs….remember when you only had a couple fat kids in the whole school? Go count them today when you pick your child up, and yes remember to count yours too.

Greg, Marietta, GA

January 25th, 2010
2:39 pm

Actually, I taught at Crim High School, in the APS system, for a year.

I don’t assume anything. I just know of what I speak. I didn’t say your child’s teachers were mediocre. I said that anyone who thinks that giving a child extra work after he has finished an assignment qualifies as differentiated instruction is mediocre.

And bully for your little rocket scientist. I’m sure we’ll read about him one day, too, if he can sit still long enough for an interview…

ThinkUrnuts!

January 25th, 2010
3:05 pm

Much of this talk about boys not being able to sit still is reflection of parenting, if children are given the freedom to disobey there parents, the are less likely to respect adult direction. I do believe that recess is necessary, but it nor prayer in school is going to cure the ills of the public school systems. A little girl came to my desk on at least 4 occassions the other day, and each time, she walked away understanding completely what was required. She had thrown a tantrum and had been sent to ISS. She understood that her behavior would not be tolerated, she is in the second grade.

Okay...

January 25th, 2010
3:10 pm

ThinkUrnuts, for a supposed teacher, your spelling and sentence structure needs a lot of work. That last post was practically incoherent.

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TechMom

January 25th, 2010
4:33 pm

When we took our son at age 8 to his pediatrician at the prompting of his teacher (@ a private school by the way, so this doesn’t just happen in public school). The pediatrician, who was my husband’s ped. when he was a kid & in his last year before retirement, said “He’s a boy, leave him alone.” Medicating kids was simply a last resort option to him.

My son has always been active and we’ve always kept him involved in sports. Problem is that sports happen after school at 6pm- he needs an energy release at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, etc. We managed through elementary school and 4th & 5th grade were much better when my son had a male teacher who ‘got him’. It was a small private school so they were able to creatively deal with him (to the point where he got to run around the building several times during the day- a 5 min break could do him wonders). Having some kind of ‘non seat’ activity every hour would probably be helpful to most kids (boys or girls).

Michelle

January 25th, 2010
4:35 pm

Well, I’m glad to see my little guy is not alone! I’m SO thankful that he has had some really tolerant and understanding teachers! Kindergarten was tough. I honestly didn’t think he’d make it through! He was getting the “schooling” part just fine, but the behavior was a whole different ballgame!

He has made HUGE strides this year compared to last, but still struggles some. I’ve been very pleased that I can talk to the teachers, make suggestions, take suggestions and keep the lines of communication open! If they weren’t there with their expertise, it would be a pretty tough year of school!

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for teachers who get NO parental support! To me, THAT is a huge part of the problem (besides lack of exercise)! I can remember being in Kindergarten and having to sit in the cloak room for being a little too rambunctious myself! ;O) I will say my child comes by it naturally. I still find myself sitting at my desk tapping my feet and bouncing my legs!

Just like in anything, there are folks who are great at their job (parenting, teaching, nursing, auto mechanics, etc.) and those who just get by for the paycheck. I think the latter is well evidenced by some of the kids that are in our society today (i.e. the 23 year old living at home with no job, no college, no ambition)!

To all of you teachers, THANK YOU! You all do a job that I could NEVER do!

kaos0302

January 25th, 2010
4:45 pm

this is part of the feminization of boys in this country…boys cant be boys because the parents are too quick to put the boys on medication…how the hell do you get a young boy to sit still for 7 hrs…that is impossible….let the boys be boys and stop feminizing them

Georgia Teacher

January 25th, 2010
5:15 pm

kaos0302,
I could not agree more.

FYI

January 25th, 2010
5:59 pm

I’ve read several stories on here of TEACHERS saying – diagnosing – students as having ADD/ADHD. I’m not saying that I don’t believe the stories – not at all. But I will say that in my system, we have been strongly counseled to NEVER say we think a student may have ADD/ADHD or any other kind of medical issue. Why? Well, not only are we not doctors nor diagnosticians, the minute a school employee says something like “I think you should get your child tested” then the school can be liable for all associated doctor and testing costs. Too bad you guys didn’t take the teachers’ suggestions for testing – you could’ve at least gotten free proof that nothing was wrong.

FatherOfABoy

January 25th, 2010
6:07 pm

Boys need recess in order to focus in the class room. They also need interesting and relevant instruction. Don’t expect a boy to sit quietly through a story about Columbus or Washington that he’s heard twenty times before. Been there. Done that. Move on.

Another problem: our teachers come out of college with lots of information on creating rubrics, and almost no information about the subjects they will be asked to teach. How many Mathematics teachers are mathematicians? How many English teachers are writers or critics? A passion for teaching must be matched by a passion for the subject matter.

TechMom

January 25th, 2010
6:12 pm

FatherOfABoy – couldn’t agree more about needing teachers with a passion for what they’re teaching. How can you possibly instill a love for a subject for which you don’t even like?

Sean Mahwir

January 25th, 2010
8:48 pm

I agree with everything Greg has said! I am a teacher and also a parent. It starts at home with the parent’s attitude and patience in dealing with an active child. When my son was young, he was very active, had little impulse control but also very smart. I can tell you one thing for sure, he needed to be engaged in the learning process in order to benefit from it. In order for my “all boy” to be engaged, my son was taught at home that he is supposed to follow school rules and do what the teacher asked him to do, when he was asked to do it. In addition, he was told him that the teacher better not be calling home to tell me anything about something that happened at school that I had not already heard about from my son. So I always knew pretty much what was going on and hardly ever got a phone call. My son is now grown, graduated top in his high school and college, and still doesn’t sit still for long. Some of his teachers were fabulous and some were not. But that discussion was never held within his earshot. And by the way, he was never spanked either. He probably had a teacher like Greg!

math 88

January 25th, 2010
8:50 pm

my poor 3rd grader only has recess on Fridays. I think it’s a shame what standardized testing has done to public school. My daughter exceeded on the CRCT, but I don’t care. We’re going to private school next year to escape. I hope I never here the letters CRCT again.

ScienceTeacher671

January 25th, 2010
9:12 pm

Many long years ago, we were only in school half a day for kindergarten and first grade, and we had lots of time for playground during recess, P.E., etc. in the other elementary grades.

Kids aren’t built to sit at a desk all day.