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Female Teacher vs. Male Teacher


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#1 ThisIsMyName

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:09 AM

I am a female teacher who teaches Honors English, english 9 & 10, & Spanish 1, 2, 3 & 4 at a small 50 student High School. In my classes, there are some male students (A group of Freshman and a group of Seniors) who are incredibly disrespectful. I have tried holding discipline with detentions and warnings, but nothing works; it's all a joke to them!
This morning, one of my female seniors (who has expressed her annoyance with the groups of boys) suggested that one of the reasons they're so misbehaven in my class is because I am the only female teacher who works at the school. This thought had never occured to me. I'm no Psychology or Science major, but it makes perfect sense. I love my fellow male coworkers and I don't hold this against them, but now that I know... What should I do? I have gotten some other siggestions from the other staffmembers but what works with them doesn't work with me.
After hearing about my situation, does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do to show my students that I demand as much respect as my male coworkers? Or maybe anymore ideas?

Thanks!
-Lynda

#2 Tormod

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:19 AM

Other than be a good teacher? :hihi:

I would think that the *school* has a responsibility here. If the school allows students to be disrespectful of teachers because of their sex, then something is very wrong with the leadership.

BTW at my daughter's school almost all teachers are women... :phones:

#3 Freddy

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:22 AM

Calling a students' parents can help. If students are being disrespectful parents can have more influence on their behaviors by taking away privledges. Is there a Dean of Students who handles problem students? If students do not respond to a phone call to their parents try having DOS or administration intervene. Kick those students who disrupt the learning process out of class. No one has the right to interfere with other students' learning!

#4 Buffy

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:40 AM

I have lots of friends whose resumes resemble yours. All of them say two things: You need to demand respect in order to get it, and in order to get it you need to have an effective stick to enforce the consequences of not giving that respect.

I manage developers (and used to manage marketing people), and its unfortunately very much like my friends' situation: they all act like a bunch of unruly 15-year-olds sometimes.

"Demanding" respect, is not simply a matter of insisting on it. You have to show the strength up-front that makes you worthy: that is, if you want people to follow, you have to show them its worth it. This won't convince the hard core trouble-makers, but what it will do is make the rest of the class see why the bullies are the *problem* instead of someone to emulate: when everyone else starts to join in the bullying of you, you've completely lost control.

The second piece of demanding though is to actually punish those who, once warned, still don't get that you get as mad at them for "dissing" you as they would get at you. The threat can be at many levels, but should always be in the form of standardized and "fair" punishments.

To mete out punishments that are effective, you need the support of the administration, or at least other teachers. This has nothing to do with being a woman: it has to do with knowing that the offenders can just "laugh off" your threats, because no one will enforce them or will let them off the hook.

You don't mention what kind of school you're in, but Public and Private schools have very different dynamics: you can throw kids out of private school (using the American definition here: remember to swap these terms if you're in the UK!) easily (unless daddy is a huge contributor), and while this is harder in public schools, you can still find ways to make life hell for the troublemakers IF you have a decent administration. Unfortunately, it sounds like "detention" is too easy to deal with at your school: it should probably be made much more painful (rent "The Breakfast Club" sometime).

To get back to your main question: most of the male teachers I know are actually much bigger pushovers than the female ones, and they're more likely to bail out of teaching because of the pressure! There is the "football coach" archetype who are just plain scary to bullies, but this can backfire if its just bullying back without doing anything to earn respect.

One thing I'd *strongly* discourage is to let that comment of "its because you're a woman" go in the mind of that student: that may be the "cause" in your particular part of the world--we've got a long way to go in gaining "initial respect" in some places still--but she needs to know that turkeys that don't respect you simply because you're a women should be shunned at all costs: make her and her friends *part of the solution*.

For an individual to create a life, even a half-way decent one, he's gotta go beyond what he knows. ... Stick with what you think, and that's what you're gonna be stuck with. You may as well get out. Now! All of you... Miss Barrett's class dismissed. All of you dismissed for the rest of your crummy lives, :phones: *
Buffy

* Too good not to cite the source for this quote: Its from "Up The Down Staircase," one of the best "teacher" movies *ever* made: go rent it now!
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#5 ThisIsMyName

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:43 AM

Whenever I remove students from the classroom, they go off and wander somewhere. Fortunately we're getting a campus security gaurd to take care of the wanderers.

The unfortunate thing is, this school really has had some mixed up things occur. We're int he country and we share a district with a town some forty miles away. Most of the board members come from that town so it is incredibly bias as far as which school gets what. We are just now having a gym built and for the last four years the teachers have been coming and going like mad. This is my second year of teaching and we lost three teachers last year and now have a new principal.

My theory is this starts in the elementary school. Since we have a small community, there isn't a sepparate Junior High; so the elementary school is K-8. Some students who have come from bigger Junior High Schools and attended the Elementary School in the middle fo their seventh or eighth grades have told me that the dicipline is incredibly poor compared to their old schools. There isn't much I can do about that. Plus the "leader" of the problemsome boys is incredibly sexist and all the other boys do exactly what he says.

What I'm trying to do is like teaching an old dog new tricks.

#6 ThisIsMyName

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 11:51 AM

I appriciate your advice Buffy.

I don't think they do it on purpose; I think it's more of a subconcience thing.

And our recent detention methods have been incedibly mellow.

The male teachers here aren't "pushovers" but neither am I... these boys just treat me as such. Perhaps I will talk to our detention teacher about making the detentions a little more harsh.

Yesterday I came up with a decent three step system (1: Detention, 2: Parent Conference, 3: Suspension). When I informed my students, many of them expressed that their "Eigth Grade block system was harsher than that" (which is when the teahcer has the student name and checks next to their name on the board- that's what i understand, anyway.).

#7 Buffy

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 12:21 PM

The unfortunate thing is, this school really has had some mixed up things occur... for the last four years the teachers have been coming and going like mad. This is my second year of teaching and we lost three teachers last year and now have a new principal.

And this is why I said above that its essential to have an administration that backs you up: there is none, and the whole school is going to heck. This is *not* because you're a woman!

Unfortunately, if you're new to teaching, you might have to stick it out for another year or so, but if I were you, I'd start working on my resume! You can't get discipline by yourself without that backing.

The main thing you need to do though is document what these troublemakers are doing, and continue to throw them out. I'd try to make friends with that principal really fast because you're going to have to keep throwing people his/her way for a while! The dynamic may be different if you've got a relatively "strong" union, in which case you want to try to get your fellow teachers together to promote the issue as a general crisis, which from what you've said it certainly sounds like it is: this is a dysfunctional school.

Plus the "leader" of the problemsome boys is incredibly sexist and all the other boys do exactly what he says.

Don't let this go: if he's sexist, he's sexist to the girls too, and they need to know that that is *not* a good thing. If you can't teach them English, at least teach them how not to get into abusive relationships! Let them know that those meatheads are turkeys and they're going to end up shoveling manure for a living.

Also, as much as discipline plays a role, reward can too, but not always as a direct motivator for those at the bottom. If you've got any ability to do a field trip or other activity, you can turn it into a reward for those who deserve it, then rig it so that the problem-boys have to spend the day in the library because they didn't earn it (which they won't). The bad ones will be embarrassed and the rest of the kids will get to view you as a "cool teacher." This takes some creativity if you have very limited resources, but its worth a shot.

Good luck!

If you deny what you know, or what you are, or where you are, you deny the simplest part of being alive, and then you die, :phones:
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#8 ThisIsMyName

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 12:42 PM

Well, I've been teaching for years. It's just my second year at this school. And I'm not assuming that everything is because I'm a woman (I don't consider myself to be that sort of woman) it was just an idea I hadn't thought of.

I would call our school "dysfunctional" but it deffinately isn't as organized as a larger school would be.

Technically, the problemsome boy shouldn't actually be in my class. But if he was in the other English class he wouldn't get to be in Weight Training which he claims he "needs." So he comes into my classroom, doesn't do his work and his excuse is "I'm going into the Airforce so I don't need this stuff." Unfortunately the schedule coordinator and I are not on good terms so he wouldn't remove Michael (the sexist boy) from my class. I am trying to get a rule passed that you must maintain a B to remain in an Honors class (which is how it is actually suppose to be) and that will deffinately filter out some of the students that are giving me issues.

So I suppose one of the main reasons I came to this forum is because I need advice in general on what i should do (not neccisarilly because I'm a woman that needs help, just because i'm a teacher that needs help). One of my students swears on this site (this is actually her Login) and says there are really smart people here that have helped her out before.

#9 Buffy

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:46 PM

I would call our school "dysfunctional" but it deffinately isn't as organized as a larger school would be.

That's good to hear! But I know of larger schools that are completely dysfunctional! You wouldn't be the only one!

Technically, the problemsome boy shouldn't actually be in my class. But if he was in the other English class he wouldn't get to be in Weight Training which he claims he "needs."

So is this class an Honors class that he doesn't qualify for but has to be for scheduling purposes? That's a crime!

I do assume that Weight Training is an elective or part of being on a sports team, and most schools these days treat sports as a privilege and not a right (unless its a Texas High School and he's the star running back :phones: ), so it may be possible to convince the coach and principal or whoever that in order to maintain this right, there can't be any D's or F's. Again, its really a matter of the school backing you up.

In any case if...

...he comes into my classroom, doesn't do his work...

... then if you document it, fail him! As long as you document it you're "safe," and if he continues to say...

...his excuse is "I'm going into the Airforce so I don't need this stuff."

You can tell him there's no way the Air Force is going to take him if he can't read or gets F's! Its really tough to get into the academy, and people who just enlist who still aren't smart as a whip spend their time in the Air Force as janitors and cooks! (Although maybe that's as high as his standards go!)

So I suppose one of the main reasons I came to this forum is because I need advice in general on what i should do...

As you can see, there's no shortage on advice here! :hihi:

One of my students swears on this site (this is actually her Login) and says there are really smart people here that have helped her out before.

...but please do register yourself separately! This post was "a bit different" than ThisIsMyName's past posts leaving a few of us scratching our heads, and we don't want to get the two of you confused!

Welcome to Hypography!
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#10 HydrogenBond

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 02:59 PM

I remember one high school teacher, who taught French. She had an aire about her that made everyone a little afraid of her. She was a very nice looking woman, easy on the eyes, but she always carried herself with a calm confidence that seemed to hide a lioness under the smile. That may have been her secret. Nobody wanted to let the lioness out, due to fear. But at the same time, it never came out, because of respect. I was lazy in high school and never took any homework home. Her class was the exception. I felt this extra pressure to avoid the lioness, but at the same time, I like going to her class because she was tough but nice.

In your room, the pack of animals is feeding off each other in their three stooges comedy routine. You need a way to throw them off balance. For example, say, "If this class is going to be disrupted, since I can't teach, then the entire class, will have a ten minute pop quiz, that will count as part of your final grade". The idea is to use the upset reaction of the rest of the class, against them. Nobody will like the pop quizzes. They will not blame you, but those students, since you gave them two paths to follow, one without quizzes. There may be honor being the class clown, and even getting the boot out of your class, but the angry disrespect will cause them to lose standing. Eventually, they will be off balance and teaching will become easier.

It is sort of a sport team and miltary teaching strategy where the screw up is corrected by punishing the rest of the team, until the team insists on team spirit. Next year, you will have a tough-nice reputation.

#11 Buffy

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 03:20 PM

It is sort of a sport team and miltary teaching strategy where the screw up is corrected by punishing the rest of the team, until the team insists on team spirit. Next year, you will have a tough-nice reputation.

This almost always backfires: You *do* want to get the rest of the class on your side, but you make *enemies* out of them when you give the pop quiz no matter *who* you say is "responsible."

It may have worked in boot camp, but rarely works in school or work environments: its just bullying the same way the disruptive kid is bullying.

Carrots in the same situation though work *wonders* as I gave as an example above.

Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out, :phones:
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#12 palmtreepathos

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:14 PM

I don't think they do it on purpose; I think it's more of a subconcience thing.


This speaks to the deeper issues that we are facing in society. When it is acceptable to disrespect those who nurture our youth then that disrespect is learned from youth up, hence making it second nature (a subconcience thing) to look down on or discount a womens worth in general. Even girls have been subconsciously programmed into a feeling of helplessness in the face of male distain and either cave in to it or adopt a get tough attitude. They then disrespect themselves and other women to prove their worth to dominant males (out of self-loathing/anger). This may be more obvious in suburban areas. Also I find some men are more passive in this distain but it then shows up as patronizing behaviour. Those who fall in the group that respect women are often classified as weaklings. When you have a dominant male at home only approving of you if you show such toughness it is bound to affect your attitude. Or alternately the father has fled and the woman is blamed by the father and sometimes the children, transferring to teachers. With marriage failure at a rampant rate this affects over 50% of families. It is a sick world.

Another thought that crossed my mind is that of the academics, language is often looked at as a womanly(alas weak) skill and it threatens those with less than solid character. If it is not learned at home in semi-supportive conditions it is hard to develop further unless lead by a manly person, the type they wish they had at home. sort of a catch -22 ;)

I would not take it personally and head on confrontation is most assuredly doomed to failure, absorbing your time, peace of mind and/or ruining the class's right to focus on the things at hand.

people who just enlist who still aren't smart as a whip spend their time in the Air Force as janitors and cooks!


Some combination between Buffy's logic (love this point) and HydrogenBond's :doh: I know, not much help from this contributor... :read: :P :huh:

#13 LaurieAG

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:55 PM

Yesterday I came up with a decent three step system (1: Detention, 2: Parent Conference, 3: Suspension). When I informed my students, many of them expressed that their "Eigth Grade block system was harsher than that" (which is when the teahcer has the student name and checks next to their name on the board- that's what i understand, anyway.).


Hello,

Surely the school itself should have a standard set of disciplanary procedures like what you had to create?

Also, it might be a 'hormonal problem' if the person who disrupts your classes is into pumping weights (i.e. like in the Tour De France).

#14 ThisIsMyName

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 11:34 PM

I feel the need to contribute to this conversation somewhat myself.

This is the real ThisIsMyName.

Our entire school line (The connected Elementary School + High School) has a weak discipline system. When I moved from what you would think of as a "normal school" with regular teachers and traditional punishments etc. I remember being surprised and relieved when I found out how laid back everything was. (There was a time when I did something at a dance and should have been put up for expulsion but didn't get much more than a slap on the wrists) Now that I've matured a bit since, I realize I should have been horrified. And just recently our school "remembered" that board rules say that after three detentions it's a suspension (after a couple students had up to eight detentions).

I have had personal encounters with Mike; I know he is an utter sexist. Most of us have learned not to let it get to us. It is difficult because he's one of the top dogs at our school, so people are afraid to stand up to him because of his power that he supposedly weirlds over these teenagers that can't realize high school as just a temporary state (EG: Who think if they piss of the almighty one, they're entire future will be ruined). It's difficult to deal with.

I can vouch for my teacher. She is an AWESOME teacher. I just can't understand why these people find it so hard to respect her. And I think it's unfair with the staff/principal constantly being changed there's no chance for anyone in "power" to develop a record of these kids who need an eye kept on them.

But for now I think we're in the stage of just letting it go because when it comes to SATs and Air Force sign ups and University Essays... The things that count that your friends won't be around to copy off of, they'll get their just desserts.

#15 Buffy

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 01:27 PM

It's difficult to deal with.

It sure is. And because your school system is entirely dysfunctional, its not going to get better until something horrible happens or enough people get together to complain about it.

Some very brave people are going to have to band together to take on the school board. This will unfortunately be very hard until someone is seriously hurt because of the lack of discipline, or worse, because some persecuted kid takes the discipline into his own hands (not a suggestion, just a reminder that it does not take much to create a tragedy).

I can vouch for my teacher. She is an AWESOME teacher. I just can't understand why these people find it so hard to respect her. And I think it's unfair with the staff/principal constantly being changed there's no chance for anyone in "power" to develop a record of these kids who need an eye kept on them.

When kids find out they can diss the teacher--no matter how good a teacher they are--and get away with it scot-free, it just plain snowballs. Why *should* Mike stop? He gets more powerful every time he does it! And he apparently has absolutely nothing to fear.

And the more he does it, the more others will emulate him in order to get the kind of "popularity" that he has.

One thing both of you have left unsaid is what the situation with Mike's parents are: usually such kids come from horrible homes, and throwing them out tends to be easy. But if his parents are "community leaders" then it could be that the Administration/Board is scared of *them*. If that's the case, then there's even less that can be done about them unless they get publicly embarrassed by him getting caught (and unfortunately once in high school, he might well kill somebody for driving drunk which he does because he's learned that his actions have no consequences).

But for now I think we're in the stage of just letting it go because when it comes to SATs and Air Force sign ups and University Essays... The things that count that your friends won't be around to copy off of, they'll get their just desserts.

I certainly hope that this kid's bad Karma catches up with him, but I hope its a lot sooner than that!

Sounds like you have a real train wreck there and my condolences go out to both of you. Unfortunately your alternatives are limited to keeping your head down and suffering, leaving town, or risking a lot to bring everyone together to fight it.

No Bully Left Behind, :hihi:
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#16 C1ay

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Posted 04 November 2007 - 01:51 PM

In my classes, there are some male students (A group of Freshman and a group of Seniors) who are incredibly disrespectful. I have tried holding discipline with detentions and warnings, but nothing works; it's all a joke to them!


Can't you just throw them out of your class and tell them to take it up with the administration?