Friday Two Cents: I Will Start The Ripples


In Canada, the end of the current school year is fast approaching and several colleagues asked me for something very interesting that took me awhile to truly come up with a response.   These colleagues knew that I have been to several schools as an occasional/supply teacher (OT) and they asked my opinion on particular schools that I have been to. Specifically what I thought about these schools. Their request came from their consideration on transferring to those schools.

I told them that what I find desirable might not be what they may like. They knew this and they had already talked to other OTs about these schools and got either an unfavourable or favourable critic on that school. Yet they said they respected my opinion because I was an unbiased third-party and that I usually look at things from all points of views unlike many of the other OTs. I found this rather flattering and I took their requests to heart. After reflecting about their requests, I told them my opinions about the schools. They thanked me and in giving my opinions I too discovered some interesting things.
The one very interesting fact or follow-up question had been on the staff dynamic in the school. This did not surprise me but the one thing I noticed did. I found that the schools that had the closest staff or good staff dynamic where the ones that regularly ate together in the staff room. Not just lunch but during recess too. This all came together on the day when the media was promoting ‘Eat Together Day.’   It is a promotion by a grocery chain here in Canada and several media outlets for people to eat with their colleagues and family.

Eating together.

They surveyed Canadians and found that 59% say that eating alone is the norm. Twenty-five percent like to spend their meal time catching up with personal business, 23% think that they are too busy to stop what they are doing and 12% spend their time on social media without interruption. And yet without knowing these facts and figures I rated the school as desirable or not almost along the lines of these survey results.
I found the schools with good staff dynamics and  desirable were the ones that ate together. Yet what was interesting is when I talked to other OTs. The ones that fell into that 59% of eating alone liked the school that had most of the staff eating alone, where the others did not. I know it is very subjective but I found this observation quite telling.
Upon reflection I shouldn’t be too surprised. This only proves that we humans are hard-wired to be social animals. We have been eating together or breaking bread since the dawn of civilization. Yes there are times we want or need to be alone but I fear that with the digital world and social media right at your finger tips, this may be changing and not for the better. Even without thinking about it, I realized that a close staff dynamic is what I look for in a desirable school and many others want this too.  
Yet it comes down to the staff themselves. If they want a close staff dynamic, they are the ones who need to put the effort into that relationship. I for one will continue to eat in the staff rooms of the schools where I go into and interact with the staff. It may take a while and repeated effort on my part but sometimes it only takes one person.

It is like the tail of the ripples in the pond. So small at first but look how they grow. But someone has to start them.

Someone has to start them.

 

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Friday Two Cents: Tired Of The Hypocrisy


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“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Muhammad Ali

 

     Something has come to my attention this week that I find a bit unfair. It is no secret that I am a teacher and a male but for some reason these two items are the source of some controversy with many people, to be honest, mostly women. I am finding that I am growing tired of the hypocrisy that many are spewing from their mouths about me and my taste in art and images.

     This all started with images I “liked” on Facebook that show an attractive woman wearing a small bikini. Nothing was showing but some women told me that it was inappropriate for me to like it because I work with children, a.k.a a teacher. I found this interesting and said that this is during my personal time and at no time do I ever check social media during work hours. They continued to say that I have to be careful because I am a guy and I cannot show this.   Again I say that it is on my personal account and not seen in the school setting. They continued to push the issue and I finally said,”What about female teachers liking male models that are in their swimsuits or less that are on Facebook and other social media.” They said, “That’s different.” How so? I asked. They said it just is and that I have to be careful on what I show because I’m a male teacher.
     You see, I see the human form as beautiful, a work of divine art, both female and male and of course being a heterosexual male I find the female form attractive.   So why can I not like something that is inherently ‘natural’. Women find the male forms attractive and that is fine with me, so why do women have a problem with men finding other women attractive?
     Below are a couple of images that would be typical of postings on social media sites. Both are in swimsuits or less but for some reason the male images are acceptable but the female images are not. Why?

 

     Is it because we as a society have gone so far into the feminist side of the issue that anything men find attractive, like a woman in a swimsuit is seen as subversive. That women should not be seen as sex objects but its okay to see men as sex objects. Have we swung the pendulum from one extreme to the other? Has feminism gone from advocating equal rights with men to surpassing them and placing men under the submission of women? A form of radical feminism that tells people to not be human? Or is it simply a level of hypocrisy that a male teacher should not act like a man because he is one and that is seen as wrong.
     I have been attacked, yes attacked for acting like a man in my teaching career. Supervisors have told me that I should act more like the female teachers. I should lower my voice to a whisper and not use inflections and different voices when reading stories. Not interact with the students in a rough yet playful manner, that I should be submissive. Or its okay to teach baseball and football but poetry and art is not considered masculine. In essence not be myself.
     The teaching and early childhood educator (ECE) fields are dominated by female teachers. The statistics from a 2013 survey show that men make up about 1% of the ECE’s in Ontario and the number of men teaching in the primary grades (Kindergarten to grade 3) are about the same. Yet everyone I talk to say that the students need more male teachers. I wrote a paper on this subject matter and the research shows that men do not enter the field because of the societal pressures and stigma they place on male teachers. Similar to what I have experienced in my career.

     Perhaps if people truly want more males in these roles then maybe they should start by stopping the hypocrisy towards male teachers.

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