I am a supply teacher, which means that I find myself in other teachers classrooms. Because of this I find myself following other teachers routines and often it is very difficult to avoid other teachers classroom management techniques. I am often only in a class for a day and I can’t exactly do any real damage or make any great strides in that time, so I usually go along with it. Except for one really annoying aspect of classroom management.
Every time any opportunity comes for children to shine or have a treat, the kids are dead set that they should take it in turns, boy-girl-boy-girl. Now, I know I should just probably leave it and let them go for it and some times I do let it happen. But from time to time I think “No, why does it matter if the next child who comes up is a boy or a girl?” and struggle to explain to the children why I think differentiating between genders at the age of 6 is a bit silly.
Look, I know it sounds petty. What is the harm in using boys vs girls as a way to control your classroom? Well, it encourages children to see boundaries that aren’t really there. At a young age, children don’t really know the difference between boys an girls. They are irrelevant. In fact they are relevant because they are damaging. By encouraging children to differentiate between genders now, we are telling them that we think there is something inherently different between the sexes. There isn’t. It is things like this which drives wedges between the genders in people’s perceptions.
The fact that we teachers aren’t taught to be careful about things like this during training is crazy, but then it’s not surprising.