I read “Why Gender Matters“ by Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. not too long ago. I wish I could recall the reason I picked it up. Reading that book led me to “boys adrift” also by Dr. Sax. It was at a time of intense desire to learn more about education, not simply the tried and true themes of classroom management, the latest technology for schools, or data-driven instruction. I was hungry for a broader scope, deeper reasons for failures; in search of ideas for solutions.
In my various roles; Reading Specialist, Reading Recovery teacher, ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Literacy Coach, LAT (Language Acquisition Team) Facilitator, I had a macro view (the broader picture) of each school I served. I enjoyed knowing all the teachers in the building through my work, I gained great knowledge through the liaison role between administration and teachers, and I loved teaching students.
What I was missing for many years was educational ideas outside of my own circle; outside of my building, district, and community. I fell into a trap. The workshops, conferences, and learning opportunities were products of the same rhetoric I was being fed at work. All my knowledge was based on what my administration was dictating. I barely had time to read at my leisure, for my interests. I once heard, “If you’ve been out of college/university more than five years, your knowledge is outdated.”
My knowledge became stagnant.
Attending university was not a cure, but getting into reading again, on various topics that were larger than standardized testing policies and school regulation, was.
A movement for better education must come from the educators inside the classroom walls. Yet, where is the time for them? How will they do it? Who will equip them to advocate for themselves and their students? Social media is a GIANT step in the right direction – because connections and information for better has never been easier to access. And, with the right mindset of being a student as well as a teacher – change is no doubt going to happen.
I am reading voraciously these days. I am stunned. I am shocked. I am excited. I am bursting at the seams! I now have a wealth of information that has infused me, once again to benefit my work as an educator.
“boys adrift” has completely changed the way I think about boys in the classroom or even in the world. I have learned ways to support boys in their learning. I now better understand their needs, thinking, and physical requirements in a way that will translate brilliantly to my work.