Happy Wednesday erbody! I’m sorry I left you in the lurch over the past week. It would be an excuse to say I’ve been too busy because I do believe that you make time for that which you love and hold in high esteem and you are both of those things to me!
You may know this already, but I started a new job this year. While it has been a huge adjustment, I have decided to take every new challenge in this new environment as it comes and not to allow myself to get overwhelmed. But It has been difficult to put into words what I have been experiencing; I will do my best today, though.
As of 2020, I am an English teacher at a boys’ school. Yes, the only girls I see during work hours are my female colleagues. I can’t tell you what I was expecting this would be like, but here are 3 differences I have found so far:
Boys will be boys
I’ve heard it said before that boys never grow up; their toys just get more expensive, but these words have never rung truer than they do for me right now. Whether a boy is in 8th grade or 12th grade, he is the same: a goofy, giggly, talkative bundle of energy that you must force to bounce on a yoga ball so that he can stay focused during class! Everything is funny in an all-boys classroom! There is no restraint because of girls they’re trying to impress ( No, I don’t count as a girl they’re trying to impress!). The all-boys classroom is rowdy and if you don’t have them busy writing and giving you feedback from the word go, then you will end up frustrated at the seemingly chaotic environment. I’m still figuring it out but so far, it has helped to start the lesson off by having them take down notes. The minute the chattering starts, I skip to the next slide. It seems that I need to metaphorically grab them by the face and point them to that lesson’s outcome.
What work ethic?
My friend, who is also a teacher at a boys’ school warned me of this one. If dem boys had things their way, every single period would be a free period! The grade 9s ask me every day! I’ve learned to laugh it off while they shrug as though to say, “well, I tried”. If dem boys can push a deadline for an assignment, they will- on the day it is assigned! There is no eagerness to work and no panic about covering the work in the future. Dem boys live in the moment and in the moment, chilling is the order of the day!
Get over it
This is my favourite difference about teaching in an all-boys school. They don’t take you or your reprimands personally. Sure, dem boys push boundaries. They may suggest that you are being unfair, but most of the time, their intension is to get out of working or trouble with you. If you call their bluff, they smile sheepishly and let it go because they know that they were merely taking a chance. I’ve lost it once or twice with them, but they have been quick to apologise. Dem boys don’t hold grudges. I don’t get side-eyed two days later and I don’t worry as much about being liked because, ultimately, whether they like me or not, they keep things moving. I like that.
I don’t understand everything about working with dem boys yet. It’s going to take me this whole year to at least settle in, but this is what I wanted: a new challenge, new ways to hone my craft, to test and validate my ability and I’m in for a quite an adventure!