SOL: “Are there any girls in here?”

For the first time since I started teaching at the Ed Center I have a class that is more boy than girl.  Usually there are a few guys, but never quite this many all at once.  And this is something that seems mostly true about my level.  In the two levels above mine, there are plenty of guys, but at Level 1, they’ve always been few and far between, and they haven’t really stuck.  Jeovany was a rare case … but he had the added attendance incentive of Valerie’s presence in the class to help him earn his ‘Near Perfect Attendance’ award.

And maybe the girls are part of the reason the boys don’t stay.  After orientation, one student wrote a refection about what he’d need to do to make this a good school term.  He said, “Come to class and really work.  Not let any girls keep me from focusing on my goal.”

Well, in this class, he might have an easier time of it.  I have only five ladies, and only four have come consistently … and one of those four is about to have a baby (really about to: she was due today … and she was still. in. class!), and another of the four is also pregnant.  Meanwhile I have — count them — ten guys.  Ten.  That just never happens.

At the end of Thursday’s class last week, the reflection asked people to evaluate the first week of class.  Another of the guys wrote: “One thing I notice about this class is there are more dudes that females.  That may be good for me because females are a real distraction.”  I loved that.

It will be interesting to see how the shift in numbers changes the retention rate for the guys, especially after my pregnant students leave.  It will be interesting to see how (if?) having so many boys in the room changes my teaching.  And I wonder how the girls feel, wonder if all that male in the room will affect their experience of the class, affect their participation.  Yeah, as if I’m running some sort of weird, only vaguely defined sociology experiment.

And one more thought on the girls-as-distraction theme:  Not that I have any desire to be any kind of distraction to any of my students, but tonight I learned that I couldn’t be even if that were a goal of mine.  I learned that I don’t even count as a gendered person!  Cheo, a continuing student from the summer, and one of the two older men in the class, was checking ages to see who was the oldest.  He was so relieved that Miguel (another continuing student) is older and announced his age to the guys at his table.  He said it easily enough — “I’m 44.” — and then did a rapid-fire glance around the room.  “Are there any girls in here?  No.  Ok.”  I laughed and pointed out that I was standing right in front of him.  “Oh, you don’t count.  You’re the teacher.”  Oh.  Ok.

Really.  I have no interest in ‘distracting’ any of my students … but can’t I avoid being a distraction and still get to be a woman?

_____

SOLSC Logo is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers.

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4 thoughts on “SOL: “Are there any girls in here?”

  1. Lisa

    In my board there are a few schools doing a pilot project where the grade 7 & 8 students are seperated by gender for a few classes a day. It seems to vary in each school, but I think they are mostly seperated for gym, math and literacy. The teachers love it, and the students are reporting that they like it too, for all the reasons you mentioned: nobody of the opposite sex = fewer distractions.

    Oh, and teachers usually don’t count when tallies are being made in class. 🙂 Even the kindergarten kids know that!

  2. It will be interesting to read your reflections on this class as time passes.

    I’ve had classes like this and generally the girls in the minority have a harder time. That’s junior high. I think too, that with more boys on the junior high level instead of “romantic” distraction you have more physical issues, conflicts.

    It’s always hard when there’s an imbalance in the numbers.

    It is fun to teach classes with just girls, or just boys.

    Good luck Stacie,Can’t wait to hear more,
    Bonnie

  3. What a great story. So interesting to read that you were not considered a “distraction.” I seem to remember lots of situations when the students in the class had a crush on the teacher. Maybe that will come as the class year progresses. Thanks for continuing to be a participant in this “Slice of Life” Challenge. I love reading about your experiences in your classroom.

  4. I think that I read that girls do better in mixed classes while boys do better in same sex classes. I can understand it, especially junior high, the girls unknowingly do all sorts of distracting stuff and when they want to distract, forget it. The boys get all wound up like one of those rubber band powered gliders and don’t know why or what to do with the energy.

    It should be interesting this school year and in a good way.
    regards,
    Theresa

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