Saturday, August 1, 2009


In my training I've been undergoing the last 3 weeks for my teaching certification, the topic of emasculation of boys in our current educational system was brought up. This, it was explained, is a big reason why more boys are sent to the principal's office for misbehavior and more boys are in Special Ed.

While no offense was intended towards female teachers, it was pointed out that education is, essentially, a female dominated profession and that many of today's children grow up in homes without a father figure. In essence, boys are not learning how to be men.

The point of all of this was the importance that male teachers have in education - as they may be the only positive male role models that a boy has in his life. I should also point out that the person leading this discussion is a woman.

I tend to agree with this premise. The fact of the matter is that boys will be boys. Boys and girls are different. They learn differently, they respond to the same stimulus differently, they solve problems differently. Boys tend to be more competitive and aggressive. At the same time, boys tend to not hold a grudge as much as girls. Two boys can get in a fight one day and go back to being best friends the next. Two girls get in a fight and they're giving each other the silent treatment for the next week or so. I don't mean this to sound like I'm dissing girls - just personal observations after being a father of 4 children and working with teenagers for most of my adult life.

But, we try to teach boys to be more sensitive, less aggressive, less competitive - in essence, too often our society expects boys to think and act more like girls. Typical male behavior becomes the object of jokes.

Anyway, this got me to thinking - will I be a good male role model?
  • While other men talk about last night's football game - I'm blathering on about American Idol
  • While other male teachers will get out and play ball with the boys - I avoid such because, frankly, I throw balls like a girl
  • While most men are left brained - I am right brained (as are most women) and think right brained
  • While many men are very competitive - I tend to be more passive
In short, I wonder if, as a teacher, will I be more like a female teacher than a male teacher? Will I teach more as a woman would teach? Will I approach discipline more as a woman would rather than as a man would?

Mind you, while I do have some OGT's (Obviously Gay Traits) - I also have some straight male traits as well
  • I hog the remote while watching TV
  • I love going to Home Depot and Lowes
  • . . . um, that's all I can think of for now
But, in a teaching capacity, will my OGT's dominate over my OST's? Will I make a good male role model for my students?

I'm not suggesting that this will have any impact on my effectiveness as a teacher. I'm only looking at my effectiveness as a male role model. Overall I'm pretty straight acting; and, I doubt I set off gaydar to a casual observer. But, once you get to know me, as my students inevitably will, my OGT's begin to become evident.

Or, perhaps being exposed to a male who isn't doing all of the things that our society says guys do will show the students (both male and female) that men are far more complex than society makes them out to be.


Rex said...

Awesome post! Not knowing you, I couldn't say how your OGTs come across to others, but I tend to think we who have OGT's make for better male role models than a lot of males. I think we are as competitive and agressive as others, but we pick different battles. I should probably only speak for myself. When it comes to things that I think matter, I've been called an alpha male. I think you'll be a great male role model.

MoHoHawaii said...

You have the potential to be a fantastic teacher. One OGT is empathy, and this is essential for effective teaching. OGTs are your friends.

Ned said...

Great post Abe! As a father of boys and girls, I'm glad to see typical and non-typical traits in all of them. My sons are manly men in my book, but also spiritually sensitive, kind and creative. My daughters are neither butch nor overly girly girls, but they are assertive, sensitive, kind and creative beautiful young women who are not easily intimidated. They've all done well in school and in their chosen professions. (I do sound like the proud papa here, don't I?)

Some of it, clearly, is the way we've reared them, but I also see this trend in their peers and in the young people I work with professionally and at church. It's also encouraging to see that this generation is the least homophobic group in our society. Just take a look at this graph which I found on a link from Scrum Central's blog on July 29th.

The trend is encouraging but probably also threatening to many people who are the age of
General Authorities. :)

Max Power said...

I think you'll be a great male role model ... as long as you don't show up in drag. :)

I love Lowes WAY more than Home Depot. The fixtures they sell are much more stylish. Wait, is that the emasculation of the love of home supply stores? ;)

Quinn said...

Interesting stuff. My favorite male teacher, as I found out much later, was gay..... but who cares!

Silus Grok said...

While I agree whole-heartedly that boys are X and girls are more Z, I would suggest that the deepest part of one's eternal gender is not something that is easily quantifiable. So if you want to be a good, male rolemodel — you're already are a good male — just be who you are. Be the best you possible. Your inherent maleness will shine through despite your poor taste in television and your lack of physical prowess.


Abelard Enigma said...

I love Lowes WAY more than Home Depot. The fixtures they sell are much more stylish.

As are [cough] some of the patrons who shop there as well as some of the employees :)

Your inherent maleness will shine through despite your poor taste in television

Hey! I resemble that comment.

Rex said...

As are [cough] some of the patrons who shop there as well as some of the employees :)

That's why I go.

Philip said...

Your raised four children so you have all the information you need to answer your own question.

Are you a good father?

If so then you are a good male role model.

Because a good male role model provides a good example of how men nuture families and support their communities.