This post was prompted by a conversation I had this morning with my 5th grade son, Cameron. He’s training for Safety Patrol at his elementary school, and as we were waiting in the car for the doors to open, there were three girls waiting to go in, and I asked him if any of his friends were in the next session with him, or if it was mostly girls. A seemingly innocent question. His answer though, broke my heart. He said, “It’s mostly girls. Their all teacher’s pets.”
Now, if this had been the first time I’d heard that statement from him, I would have brushed it off. However, over the past few years, Cameron, his 7th grade brother Bromley, and a number of their friends, have expressed the same sentiment, that girls are treated better than boys in elementary school.
You could assume it was a case of the grass is greener. But, the conversations I’ve had with my boys and their friends have been very consistent. They see girls being reprimanded less than the boys, getting chosen for special jobs more than the boys, and being told to “be quiet” less than the boys.
I imagine it’s MUCH easier, on the whole, to teach girls. I was one of those compliant elementary school girls who always got picked by the teacher to help, was always rewarded for good behavior, always got the choice “jobs.” So, I get it. However, as the mom of two boys, it breaks my heart to hear them speak of how they are treated. They are NOT angels, I know. They are boys. Full of vim and vigor. But, I URGE teachers to consider how they are talking to the boys, reacting to they’re behavior, and comparing them to the girls.
The boys see it. They feel it. They deserve better.