Friday, July 9, 2010

End of Men?
by Dr. Albert Mohler, via Girls Gone Wise
Dr. Mohler writes a thorough summary and biblical review of the current cover article from Atlantic Magazine.  This is a truly sobering article, that I guess most of us have seen coming for some time. To see it compiled here and spelled out this way is quite disturbing.

Below are some of my comments
From my adventures as a sub (updated)
As a substitute teacher this past school year and an aunt of two nephews who (grudgingly) graduated from high school in the past two years, I echo and agree with some of the final statements in the article about the gravity and longevity of this effect going forward.

In most of my classrooms, in most of the schools where I served, discipline was the first priority -- to nip the unruly in bud before the class devolved into chaos. Almost every day, my discipline issue was with a boy. A few things became very apparent to me. First, boys need more male teachers in high schools. I'm not saying that all teachers have to be male, but to have more male role models would help a lot.

Second, the boys need to be given more opportunities to apply their talents, skills, and abilities. One of the charter schools where I was a frequent sub, had seven periods per day. PE was only offered once per week. All of the math teachers were women, and when I subbed for one of them, the students were given crafts - construction paper, crayons, and scissors -- rather than math assignments (10th and 11th grade!). Needless to say, the students were very vocal against this class. I was warned ahead of time about the number of discipline cases this particular teacher has each day. So, I prepared myself the best that I could, and tried to incorporate some more tangible scenarios. We had a very organized and uneventful day, Praise God! 

Third, an interesting trend has emerged in regular public schools where droves of students who want to learn are opting to go to the vocational and technical schools. When I went to high school (way back in the 70's/80's, Vo-Tech was for the dead heads who had no other options, essentially underacheivers and guys who weren't planning to go to college and could care less about calculus or learning a foreign language. Well, these days, Vo-Tech is En Vogue. There's a waiting list and the kids that are signing up are not the same stoners that we went to school with, that's for sure.

Fourth, I don't know what the solution is, but another thing that emerged at the charter school happened during their Field Day. The same 'problem boys' who hated the classwork and gave their teachers the most trouble were the ones who took leadership. They organized their own teams for the basketball competition. They brought their own instruments, formed impromptu groups and turned "open mic" into a real "battle of the bands." They got the Marine Recruiter to give away all of his props to the guy who could do the most pull-ups. The "trouble makers" turned an empty field into a lacrosse toss competition. Their opportunities arose from poor execution by administrators who left a lot of unorganized events and downtime open for the taking. But to see the creativity, energy and talent that these guys had when 'unleashed' was kind of mind blowing. These are guys who are barely going to graduate and could care less about going to college. There is a tremendous opportunity to harness all of this potentiality and keep it from being lost. 

Finally, I would say that our youth boys and girls alike (but boys moreso than girls) lack a desire to read books. They don't like reading at all, but reading a book is like a prison sentence. With their short attention spans and constant longing for the passivity of being entertained and amused, our young people have zero tolerance for developing a disciplined mind. From an English major's perspective, as well as a daily student of the Bible, this might be a bigger problem than all of the above combined. One of the ways of tyranny is to get rid of all the books. We may have sidestepped any forced book burning at this point, 'cause you just can't persuade most teens to crack open a good book and soak it in anymore. Just sayin'.

I don't have the answers, but there is opportunity for a better way forward...

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