Year three, Middle School.

Okay, this week began my third year of teaching middle school. I probably still teach more like a high school teacher, if indeed there is any difference, but I’m not so shocked anymore by the size of the boys and the volume of their voices. I’ve begun to think it would be a good idea to separate the genders of kids in some classes at the middle school level. The boys and girls are miles apart in maturity at this age, and the separation seems like a no-brainer to me. In my classroom are the girls, who although gregarious can generally hold it together for the 100 minutes of English class that I must put them through. provide to them. The boys have a hard time holding it together for ten minutes.

I imagine a class in which we teach at least half of the class on the track. “When you hear a preposition, take one giant step forward. If you year an adjective, jump three times.” You could play grammar tag, Mother-May-I and Duck-Duck-Goose, all using grammar terms. The girls would like this too, but are also able to sit and read and write at this age without nearly the agony as it causes the boys. And without the boys in the room, they could forget about how they look long enough to think about something schooly. Our high school is trying something like this. I would love it if we could find reason to try it at the middle school level.

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3 thoughts on “Year three, Middle School.

  1. Progressive Scholar says:

    I think your ideas about how to get them active with math are great, but I think it would be detrimental to split up your class based on their sex. What you perceive to be a difference in gender is really just a difference in socialized gender norms. Boys are socialized to be more rambunctious and loud, whereas girls are socialized to be more demure and polite. This does not mean that they actually prefer to act this way, and it definitely doesn’t mean that they learn best while acting that way. Children have learning styles that vary much greater than their gender may signify. Learning styles cannot be easily divided into “girls’ learning style” and “boys’ learning style”. So I really think it would be detrimental to have the girls miss out on the activities you are planning for the boys, just because they do not have the body of a boy does not mean that they would not learn math better through physical activity.

    There has also been research that shows when boys and girls are tracked into different classes, the teachers will often teach the boys more difficult material and challenge them more, while the girls are not challenged and are taught only average material. But perhaps this is old news and you already know about gender bias in the classroom.

    Just my .02, take it or leave it. πŸ™‚

  2. lynnjake says:

    Actually, I do know about gender bias in the classroom. I’ve been teaching and researching for a long time. I think what you say has great merit. I have also read research that indicates that gender separation at middle school can be very effective for all concerned. My preoccupation is that I often have a group of boys who are so loud and active that they completely take over the class. I have girls sitting quietly and/or impatiently annoyed by the interruption, and feel that I am not meeting their needs. Granted, there are boys who can sit quietly as well. I have struggled with this huge difference in learning (or not learning) style ever since I’ve been at the middle school. I just feel guilty that I deal so much with the loud kids and the quiet ones have to sit there and take it.

    I’m not a person who refers kids to the office, as I feel that is to completely give away my relationship with them. I don’t like to sit them outside my door as that seems like I’m just removing the problem and not changing anything. But keeping them in my room hasn’t helped either, and calling home is only effective a certain number of times, at which point I begin to feel like a whiner. I’d love suggestions for achieving a balance that meets the needs of all of them!

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