• All Purchases made this month instantly go into the draw to win a USD $ 100.00 credit to your HoP account.
 

Forums > Social Chat > The problem with girls...

Login/Join to Participate

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I've asked this question in a few friend groups and thought I'd post it here. I'm a chemistry teacher and often notice that many of my teenage girls are in a very vulnerable time in their lives of course... Some of them are in abusive relationships or so insecure it breaks my heart.

I know that guys have thier problems too but I'm often much better at understanding them since I've been one back in the day. It's a bit of a pardox being a male role model. If I am constantly supportive then it falls back into the role of them seeking male approval (me) which is exactly what I'm trying to ween them from.

How can an adult male teacher be a positive INFUENCE for adolecent teensage girls?
{This sentence was edited to remove the term "role model" becuase it's not what I meant. I know I can't be a role model on all levels for girls... )

I'd love to hear from ex-teenage girls about who infulenced them and how... and even what things caused them grief and further insecurities from teachers. It's a tough position for me to be in. Some of them come to me for advice and such and I'm sure I say the right things but I'd love some further perspective.

[ 18. January 2003, 13:03: Message edited by: NYC ]


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Delete Topic

Pele'sWhippingBoy


member
Location: Rochester, NY, USA

Total posts: 442
Posted:"Would you like some candy little girl?"
"How would you like some extra credit? "

j/k

You may want to speak with a counselor. Not about a specific student, but in general. That way you can use an official method. Sometimes in the position you're in if you try something and it fails liabilities and all that. But if you use "school policy" it may help.
Just my thoughts.

It's great that you're concerned. But you're right, a male may not be in a position to aid them. Good luck.


FYI: I am not Pele. If you wish to reply to me and use a short version of my name, use: PWB.

English? Who needs that? I'm never going to England. - Homer Jay Simpson

Delete

Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted:I think you can be a great role model, just not as directly as a female can.

The first issue that you raised is understanding what they are going through, I will come back to that. The second issue that you raised is your fear of feeding back into the cycle of male approval.

With most young people it is not the approval of one sex that they seek, it is just approval from people they like, plain and simple. With young teenage girls, because they are supposed to "like" men, more often it happens with guys. But lets put it this way, if you were a woman doing exactly the same thing, they would still want to impress you and want for you to like them. Haven't you heard of girls at single sex schools who are hetero yet have "crushes" on female teachers and older students?

The sexual side of it when it involves a male teacher and a hetero girl is secondary. It is because figuring out this "like" business is difficult. They experiment with it and play with it to see who fits the description. From what I understand a lot of guys go through something similar but different, they can replay a sexual image of almost anyone they meet (just trying the idea out).

Whoever comes to you for advice is going to want your approval. You can say "but this is not about what I think, but about what you think", until you are blue in the face, but most of them will continue replying "but what do you think?". Maybe you will have to accept that for most people who come to you, you can give the full advice, what to do and why. However until they have broken free a little more and grown within themselves, the only part they will hear and understand is the "what to do".

As to the first issue, not understanding as well as you would like, a willingness to understand is sometimes just as good if not better. And that is what you are showing in make this post.

I will post more about male rolemodels in a separate post, but I should let other people get a word in edgeways.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

Delete

fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:I have never looked on any of my teachers as role models.

I like many of them - I definately get on with them and fully respect a lot of them for who they are, how they are and how they portray themselves. A lot of them I can chat openly with and it is more like coexistance than teacher-student stuff. And some I don't agree with as much and we have a purely 'you teach, I'll listen' thing.

But none of them are role models. Just people.


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

Delete

Rozi
SILVER Member since Jan 2002

100 characters max...
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia

Total posts: 2996
Posted:Okay the role model thing. I think I would have to agree with FNF Most of my teachers have just been teachers. Some of them very screwed up teachers too. Like the ex-director drama teacher who threw a chair at a classroom of students.

My biggest role model was my dad. No surprises there. He did some of the things that interested me most, motorsport, travelling, working. When I was being bullied at school by a bunch of my "friends" (why do girls do that?), he introduced me to the concept of "nil bastardes corborundrum", don't let the bastards grind you down. When he caught me swearing at school once he didn't tell my mum . He looked out for me and he looked after me.

Okay, it is pretty impossible for you to do the dad role. But it gives me some key things that are important. You don't have to have gone through the same things as the person you are giving advice to. You need to have open ears and open eyes. You have to know when to listen and accept without challenging the story, and when to poke and prod for more information. You need to teach pride, respect for self, strength. You need to add a sense of perspective.


It was a day for screaming at inanimate objects.

What this calls for is a special mix of psychology and extreme violence...

Delete

Bram....


member
Location: the arms of the Ganja Goddess

Total posts: 1551
Posted:I agree with Ros on the teacher co-existence thing, except I am the kid that speaks his mind regardless of the consequences, even when it gets me suspended. I would say to suggest to the student that they go talk to a counciller, or better yet if you have one, a student advocate, seeing as how the counsillers don't always keep thier word on the intimacy thing.

You. Its whats for dinner!

As time passes, you realise all the mistakes you amde and the ones you wish you never did make.

The wave crashing on the beach

Delete

Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:Well, I don't know if i count as ex teenager, but ex high school.... I'll try to help

I might first point out that i am more comfortable around guys (tends to be true for less mainstream girls, at least) but guy teachers are usually more standoffish. Most of my male teachers were only inspiring in the sort of academic/ politicy way, i.e. they were smart people with good/ interesting views on the world that i could discuss such things with, and they usually had the funnest classes.

The good and bad ends of teh spectrum were the english teacher that spent the whole year flirting with me (I know you wouldn't do that NYC, but dear god that was annoying!) and the science teacher i had who was really nice and usually was kind to me when i was having a bad day and told me silly jokes or something to try and cheer me up. Something he did which i thought was very cool was on teh infamous notecards of information at teh begining of the school year, he had everyone write down what they wanted if they were having a bad day. (i.e. some want to be left alone, some want jokes, some want to talk, some just want a consoling word, etc.) It worked really nicely (for both genders).

I unfortunetly have no "girl specific thoughts" I think girls just need help with respect ...um.... i dunno how i'd go about it much different than a guy, but, hopefully someone else is more helpful? I bet ur doing good. I tried.... :shrug:


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:WAIT WAIT... let's not get caught up in the term "role model" what I should have said was "positive influence in their life"... Role model was the wrong word. I, of course, don't want girls to want to grow up to be me. Bad word choice which derailed my question. I'll go change it after posting this.

As for gender roles, Rozi, I strongly disagree. Most kids come from male dominated families and translate that to their teachers. I get MUCH more respect from kids who have dads that dominate thier moms. Kids who have weak mothers, especially boys who have weak mothers, tend to have a difficult time accepting females as authority figures. Many sons are actually ranked higher in the family heirarchy. Father > Son > Mother > Daughter. It's sad but true.

I don't think it's as much of a "sexual" issue as you put it, as it is a "male authority figure" issue.

I KNOW I get much more immidiate respect from students because I am male. Some boys don't see females as worth listening to because their fathers straight out said it. But I know guys and how to affect that behavior. I'm more concerned with learning how to break the cycle in females.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Delete

fluffy napalm fairy


fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land

Total posts: 3638
Posted:Sorry for taking on the 'role model' thing - I misunderstood - oops

(I've spent about half an hour trying to type this response but I keep deleting it - it doesn't say what I want it to.)

I don't understand the 'breaking the cycle' thing. If it's personal trouble then I think you, as a teacher, cannot solve it or address it too much without becoming more involved than a teacher should be. You're there to teach, counsellors are there to give counsel.

The male teachers I've known have helped me out when I'm having difficulty at school but that's about it - it's not their place to try and sort out whatever social/personal problems I may be having (and believe me - I've had them)

(Dag nabbit - that's still wrong...but it's the closest I can get.)


Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

Delete

Cassandra


Cassandra

Froggie ... Ribbit !!!
Location: Back in Paris... for now !

Total posts: 4224
Posted:I AM FURIOUS

I have just typed a super long reply and that computer bugged...

So I have to make that one less eloquent and shorter :

as much as I can remember the teachers who managed to touch my soul when I was that teen age girl full of anger and fears and passino were teachers who loved their jobs and shared that passion with FUN and creativity...
They were also people with a life of their own and so they did not feel compelled to interfere with mine either by trying to overhear conversations, or trying to be overfriendly (YUCK overfriendly I-am-your-friend-you-can-talk teachers made me puke)

For those who have read the little prince I think people should treat everyone and especially teenagers like the prince treats the fox : slowly with respect and distance at first...

And i would like to add in all honesty what i have many times told you in private : i would have been damn lucky if I ahd had a teacher like you, NYC... you are first class in the intelligence and respect with which you treat and talk about your students. And I KNOW that you have been light and help for more than one of your students ...

Shine on
Cassandra


"I want brown bread... no, that is diesel oil..."
"So I was raised in Europe, where History comes from ..."
"NON !!! La Plume de mon oncle n est pas Bingibangibungi !!!"

Delete

dulce flames


member
Location: Oceanside, California USA

Total posts: 234
Posted:I also work with teenage girls and I guess I would qualify as a counselor although it isn't my direct title. I think the most important thing a teacher can do first off is be supportive academicaly (sp?). Helping to motivate them in their academics and rewarding what they are doing right as opposed to what they are doing "wrong" in their academics. It can be very hard to make them see the light when it comes to abusive relationships, but trying to convince them that they have more to look forward to in the future can help them to get through those relationships and build self confidence. Pushing them to try in their academics or any activities that they might be involved in or interested in will greatly help them. I find the girls with the least self confidence usually have experienced teachers and or parents who don't push them to exceed either because they don't think that they can, or the parents don't have the skills or tools to work with their kids. Show them that you have faith in them and believe that they can succeed and I think it will greatly help them. Some of these kids havn't experienced that and it's very unfortunate. I'll share more later, but for now I've got to go. I imagine you are already being a positive influence on these girls just by showing them that you care... Best of Luck!

Delete

shads


member
Location: WA

Total posts: 36
Posted:I'm the kind of girl that tends to have alot of guy friends, and don't get on so well with girls. My final 3 years of school was at an all girls school, and I lived there.
My english teacher in my final year was a male. A very dominant sort in subtle ways. If you held eye contact with him he'd always try to make sure you looked away first, etc. We got on well and had many conversations, but in the classroom we often had clashes, re: eye contact, I don't tend to break eye contact.
He was the teacher on my final year hiking camp (a 10 day hike through old growth wilderness). The was a group of 11 girls, a group leader, and a teacher.
I'm a natural leader, its something I've always been told, but in situations like that, I tend to stay at the back of a group because I'm first aid trained and aware of the risks more so than most of the girls I was with. And anyway I grew up out in that country and I knew most of the stuff we were out there to learn (map and compass skills etc) so I left them to it. As teacher, he was to walk at the very back of the group for duty of care reasons. He was always laughing at me for waiting to make sure every one was safely up a hill or whatever before I moved on, down a steep slope I'd stop at the bottom and wait to make sure he made it safely. One of the other girls and I sang songs all the way through the hike to keep people in better spirits. And at the end of the camp I was labelled the most positive, helpful "you can do it" person in the group.
At the end of all of that, the teacher respected me, and he told me he respected me, and the reasons he respected me. And his telling me that meant something to me.

Now I guess I should respond to the initial part. I don't sound like your unhappy, depressed teenage girl. So I'll add this. I suffer from depression for the 4 years leading up to the camp I was into self-mutilation. But what they did was but me in an environment I knew and I was comfortable in, and at the end of it my teacher took me aside and told me exactly what he meant. And he wasn't afraid of showing he respected me as a person in class, or out of class. I chose to stop cutting and burning myself after that camp, not only did the people I was with respect me more, but I respected myself more.

I don't know if this is entirely relevant to what you wanted, but you said you wanted stories of male teachers that had been a positive influence on lives. I think that was the teacher that had the largest positive influence on my life during my entire school career. But I think respect is a big thing for girls. But making sure that respect goes both ways. Treat them as adults, because most teenagers feel very much inbetween childhood and adulthood. They have minds of their own, and they think and feel, and what they get from alot of people is being pushed back into childhood.

As to abusive relationships, there is little, as a teacher, you can do, other than refer them on to someone like a councillor, chaplain or advocate. Even then alot of girls have trouble breaking the cycle. But once again, if you respect them, and teach them to respect you and to respect themselves it'll help them alot to realise they are more than that.

People like you NYC that care enough to ask questions, and want to help, are often the people that affect peoples lives without knowing it.
You are one of the messengers of happiness, and you have brought that happiness to more people than you know. Be at peace that you are helping people. Help them succeed and feel they are worthwhile.

love and light


Delete

Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:NYC, being a "role model" doesn't mean that kids grow up to be you. None of my "role models" when I was a little kid were doctors.

All of my role models went to college. They all kept promises. They all did their jobs. They were all productive members of society. They were good men and women.

My two biggest role models were my scoutmaster and my swim coach. Both men. So one might say that I found good male role models. But they weren't my only role models. I had plenty of female ones, too.

In the end, I wouldn't worry so much about being a role model for teenage girls. Just be a good role model. And remember, you aren't their only role model. Yes, I believe that girls need good female role models and I can only assume that you have female colleagues who can serve in that role.

The scary thing is that my sister told me that I am a role model for my nephews. I didn't realuze that I'm old enough to be a role model.


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

Delete

Kyrian


Dreamer
Location: York, England

Total posts: 4308
Posted:I have no role models. Is that weird?

I don't think i have for a long time. I got really dissalusioned by people. I'm my own role model, what i want for myself doesn't seem to be common in people.

i just noticed that whole drift....i would worry more about being a teacher then being a role model, if your fair and kind and you expect the best from your students, your already one of teh most amazing teachers there is.


Keep your dream alive
Dreamin is still how the strong survive

Shalom VeAhavah

New Hampshire has a point....

Delete

Itsgottab


member
Location: NZ

Total posts: 244
Posted:NYC you could tell them some personal stories that indicate respect(what you consider normal) of females in your own personal relationships of all kinds with women. thats if you are able(professionally)/willing to be that open with your students.

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I guess I'm interested because I know that some of them really do listen to me. I know that a certain few girls have quite a bit of respect for what I have to say and will often come to me for advice or to commiserate about something.

I'm getting quite a bit out of this thread so thanks to everyone who posted.

High school is such an important time in a developing person's life and every day and interaction seems to have life implications. I feel like there are certain moments where a child is really open to what I have to say.

I think that building confidence in all areas is certainly one positive thing. Teaching them to respect themselves is excellent and achievable as well. And listening, asking questions and showing concern certainly is good advice.

As for "Role Models"... I initially had the same definition as Mike which is why I used the word in the first place. I've never had a traditional role model... I didn't even have a teacher that particularly "changed my life". Which is strange because most teachers seem to. But I know that we all look to others for qualities we admire and want to emulate which is someone I would call a role model.

I guess it's difficult to explain but it's those intermediate moments when I think I can have an effect on a kid. Obviously if there's a major problem, it's out of my juristiction. But I have had kids come up to me and say "Why do I always get so frustrated?" or "Why do guys always pick on me?" or "Why is [my boyfriend] always so mean to me?" and I'm certainly not going to say "Ask a counselor".

I certainly don't have all the answers and often tell that to kids. But redirecting a girl towards her positive qualities and trying to establish some respect and confidence within herself is certainly a good place to start.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Delete

Pyro_Tech


Pyro_Tech

Crazy Nutter stuck in Farmidale...
Location: Newcastle, Australia

Total posts: 264
Posted:Hey NYC
First up - I was really impressed by your post! It's nice to see some male teachers who are (vocally) truly concerned for their students and interested in ways they can further help them.

I have had one teacher in particular that I still value for the effort he made to make my educational experience all that it could be.
He was a teacher from my high school and I respected him a lot mainly because of his ability to relate to students.
With all the crap that goes on with male students teaching young girls, you have to admire any male teacher who is genuinely interested in helping their students (both male and female) on a personal level to help them to achieve a greater learning experience.
In the case of this male teacher I am talking about from high school, he was open with us, shared stories that we could relate to (without crossing that ever shortening 'line') and if he was unable to help he was fantastic for setting us up with someone who could. I admired this teacher and the difference he made to our learning - I was less frustrated in his class when I just didnt know something and I was far more eager to learn knowing that if my answer was wrong it didnt matter - he would find something in it to build on. Now, I know this all sounds like soppy hallmark crap - but what happened to this teacher whilst I was in yr12 will explain why I am such a supporter for those teachers (male and female)who go the extra mile to make sure their students are happy at school.
A girl from my grade filed a SEXUAL assault claim with the DET (dept. of Education and training) and this teacher was barred from the Education Dept. The stupid girl later admitted drunk that she had made the whole thing up because she thought the teacher had looked at her 'funny' and her mum had told her to shout out if a male teacher made her feel uncomfortable. I understand that in some cases the abuse may have been absolutely true and it was right for the student to speak out, but it's pathetic students like the girl at my school that have created the uncomfortability for teachers who really want to be there for their students in any way that they can, but hold back for fear of it repeating on them in a way they didnt intend.

I have just finished my third year at Uni - the group of students that I do most of my mentoring classes with (classes that teach us how to be 'compassionate, understanding teachers') has only 6 girls and 14 boys - something out of the ordinary for a teaching degree class as the numbers of male teachers is drastically down in Australia.

These guys in my class have had so many horror stories drummed into them, that leading up to their major third year prac they were bombarding teachers with panicked questions about 'what if' scenarios with students. The guys have been studying for three years to do something they love and instead of feeling elated and excited at the start of their big prac they are instead feeling intimidated, wary and concerned.

Prior to our pracs we were split into male/female groups and 'instructed' on what we should/shouldnt do in our classrooms, what was appropriate and what was not.

I have to say now that I think the standards I was asked to keep to were pretty ridiculous - I mean, obviously I am not going to go up to a male student in my juniour classes and hug him - but I was instructed during one of my supervised classes that i had stepped over the line when I patted a kid on the shoulder who was crying in my class when asking him if he'd like a break from the classroom - I got a half hour lecture on 'opening myself up to all sorts of legal problems' because I had consoled a student by patting them on the shoulder!

How are we as teachers supposed to 'make a difference' and 'mould the next generation' as the new OZ Department of Education billboards is displaying proudly, when we're constantly in fear of breaching seemingly invisible boundaries when we're only trying to make the school experience better for all students?

I'm sorry if this post is off the point - but this is kinda a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently as I'm coming to the end of my degree!

My suggestion for you is something that has worked for me, I would find someone who you see as being a 'successful teacher', someone that students look up to, have a chat with them about how they have dealt with various situations in the classroom and earnt the trust and respect of their class - my supervising teacher at my prac was an absolute lifeline for this - he spoke openly with me about how to deal with students on a personal level and how to make them feel like the classroom was where they wanted to be.

I honestly wouldnt suggest going to see the school counsellor - I have found that they are great when you are concerned about one particular student, but possibly less helpful when you need advice on dealing with a class situation. They themselves have most of the time never been in front of the class and would be giving you text book solutions and ideas, whereas an experienced classroom teacher can share with you his first hand experiences and learnt knowledge.

Hope this is of some help...I've written it at 2am in the morning so it's more than likely I'll wake up in the morning and wanna delete it...!

Rach

P.S sorry bout the length....! hehe


We all take different paths in life, but no matter which path we take, we take a little of each other everywhere...

Delete

Gandhi Ganjamaster


member


Total posts: 299
Posted:NYC, I'm glad for your students to have a teacher that cares about them and their well being.
Being a teenage girl is hard enough - i remember being totally into sports and a tomboy and then, all of a sudden, I'm talking like, overnight, I had adult sized breasts. And I wasn't even interested in boys yet, aside from wanting to ride bikes and climb trees with them. Then, people would stare at my chest instead of look me in the eyes. Sports were out because I grew embarressed about the wobblies.
And the worst were the male teachers in the girl school I went to. They made a sport out of undermining our self-confidence. We'd hear :"You're so ugly" all the time. Or "Spanish women are the most beautiful in the world" and shit like that. One teacher would spend his holidays in places like India, take slides, and then torture us with pictures of Indian women "See how beautiful they are, so unlike you all..." and on and on. Bad enough that we didn't get a chance to learn to relate with boys in a girl school, but that the male teachers were such horrendous assholes still kinda pisses me off.
So thank you for caring about the girls. They need better rolemodels (male and female).


Why?

Delete

primative_toys


happy hunting
Location: Brisnyland

Total posts: 228
Posted:sorry im of the semasea street generation and my concentration broke about halfway through the thread,,. ba. but anyways im not much of an expert on the nyc but growing up in a male dominated (teaching wise) male school, nudgee college, brisbanites u know the one, i found the female teachers were forced into submision which made them very dominant if u get what i mean they thrashed out for respect, im sure this isnt the case for u nyc but i just had to note it,,. to gain trust and respect is a difficult thing to do especially in ur circumstance just be urself aand im sure ur fluffy personallity will win ova, just stop short of flirting, peoples dont take to kindly to pedifilia these days,, jokes, but in any case.. i know u want to help but theres really not much u can do except the above,, unless u wanna partake in an abusive relationship with the boyfriends of some of the girls... hey its a suggestion, but anygirl that lets herself be subbjected to any relationship of that nature needs all the support they can get so again just be ur fluffy self and stroke their egos and make them feel sucure about who they are... ill stop blabbering now...
keep it real,
happyhunting
mythmitch


regret nothing, learn everything

fire_light_movement

Delete

NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:I'm actually at one of the VERY few schools with a decent counseling department. We've got both a psychologist and a crisis intervention specialist. I've spoken with both of them about this. Unfortunately, they're so overwhelmed with large scale situations of deaths and severe depression that it leaves us teachers to deal with the moderate day-to-day stuff.

I've always been pretty stern with the "line" as you all say. Not only because it's inappropriate or I'll get in trouble, but because any inappropriate behavior can be really damaging to a kid. I've heard horror stores about teachers and kids are so vulnerable at that age.

A funny aside: I started when I was 22 and my students were 18. I still keep in touch with a few of those kids. Now I'm 29 and they're 25 and they still call me by "Mr." I've still kept that "line" up. When I realize that some of my friends today are younger than some of my ex-students it kinda freaks me out.


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
[They do not move.]

Delete