that perfect hand…

In Ocean's 11, Danny said that "the house always wins. If you play long enough, never change the stakes, then the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big… and then, you take the house." Here's the hand I've been dealt, sometimes it's risky and sometimes it's safe, but all the time… it's perfect. It's mine.



The disclaimer for this post is that if you are a male, are married to a male, have male children, are friends with males or have taught males…you are, by obligation, expected to post a comment. Or 4.

‘Cause I need help.

I have a very full and anticipatory heart when I think of  my job starting in September. My full heart, however, is an anxious one as I am contemplating teaching my boys. I have 21 girls and 6 boys in my class. Overwhelming ratio? Absolutely. I have ideas about teaching and nurturing and remembering them as I go, but I could use more insights.

What kind of books do your boys like to read?
How do they learn best?
What are some of their passions?
Any world issues they gravitate towards?
What subjects in school do they have the strongest aversions to?
What do they dream about?
How do they spend their spare time?
What has their favourite part about past teachers been?
What discipline tactics do they respond to the best?
Introverted or extroverted?
At 12 or 13, how much responsibility did they have for themselves? What did you expect of them?

The list goes on and on and on…

I think my biggest concerns are engaging the boys in a meaningful way…and the discipline. I want the boys in my class to be valued for being boys and I don’t want them mentally and emotionally outnumbered and suffocated by the absolute physical outnumbering of the ladies in the room.

YES this is a generalization and NO do I not expect any of what you tell or share to be 100% applicable to my boys, I am just curious about this — I’ve been reading a lot of literature on the nature of learning styles and engagement for young men but having never been one myself, your experience…even if your boys are just little guys, and observations are important to me. I crave some input as I get more and more focused on creating an awe-some learning environment for September (which is coming very fast)!

Cheers!! (And thanks…in advance…for your thoughts, please share them)

8 thoughts on “boys

  1. I am assuming that since you are talking about 12-13 year old boys, you have a grade 7 or 8 job. A good book series are the Percy Jackson series or anything by Rick Riordan for that matter: the Kane Chronicles and the Heroes of Olympus series. Also, the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. The Rick Riordan and the Brandon Mull books are all fantasy however the Rick Riordan books have to do with mythology. Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus are about Greece/Roman gods and the Kane Chronicles are about Egyptian gods. This ties into the Social Studies 7 curriculum of ancient civilizations.

    I have found that most boys I have taught learn best when they could interact and manipulate things. i.e. experiments in science, manips in math or when they could move around. However in almost all the classes I was in the boys were very active and athletic.

    As for responsibility, as much as you give them. You should expect them to be able to handle their urges (to yell out, run around the classroom) and have a great sense of social responsibility. In Gr. 7 they are the role models of the school and should be treated and act as such.

    This is only speaking from my tiny experience: 1 year as a substitute. I wish you all the luck in the world!

  2. My little boy is too little to really give any insight for you but my big boy likes Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and My Side of the Mountain by… I don’t know! That’s all I have.

  3. I talked to Derek – in order –
    1. he doesn’t read.
    2. when the teacher is hot.
    3 teacher keeping him after class.
    4. texting in class – big problem if teacher catches you
    5. next question please
    6.don’t remember my dreams, sorry
    7 poetry
    8 next question please
    9 principals office
    10just a beauty
    11.not a care in the world, biggest concern was what was for dinner.

  4. Kate-
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. Is it going to be weird if I pack up my family and follow your teaching career so that the kids can all have you AT LEAST ONCE!

    I have the distinct feeling that you are going to be a big blessing to those lucky boys that are in your class.

    I have found with Logan that he needs to move in order to learn. I think exercise balls are an interesting idea. During times when we are reading, he listens better when his hands are busy. Read aloud times include Lego. I don’t know if all boys this age are interested in the same things. I find that he’s maybe not as progressive as other boys his age, just because we don’t have cable, and he doesn’t like video games. So, Lego it is.

    A teacher who genuinely cares for him is a great thing.

    Sarcasm isn’t understood by all kids. We found that out this year. He took the words at face value and couldn’t see why someone would say something like that and mean it as a joke.

    Recess is important for getting out pent up feelings by running and playing. Keeping them inside sometimes just makes things worse.

    I feel like I am ranting, so I’ll stop. I’m so excited for you and your class. I hope they (and their parents) realize how fortunate they are.

    Bonnie Kaack

    • Bonnie,

      Thank you. Not weird at all if your kids start popping up in my classes, I would be honoured.

      And I am excited about the insights you shared…so simple yet things I would never have thought of. So again, thank you…especially for your encouragement! 🙂


  5. Kate-
    Awesome. I’ll start packing up our life in Camrose, and preparing everyone for the impending move.

  6. your classroom looks awesome, and huge! I love it.

    Taking a stab at how Jordie would answer some of those…aversion to english, likes teachers who challenge him, spare time playing sports, likes reading books about adventure, sports, history and famous figures, learns best by being given multiple ways of learning and choosing which way they prefer to learn, probably was dreaming about being a pro hockey player haha.

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