|Play time for me, but not for thee...|
Imagine you're a teacher. You're young, fresh out of college, and full of dreams of changing the world one student at a time. Maybe you've watched Stand and Deliver a few too many times. Regardless you're excited about being able to make a difference in your student's lives.
Eventually you start to notice that there are differences in the way your students play. The girls tend to gravitate to girly things like playing house, while the boys love building things with the Legos. Worse, the kids are resisting your attempts to get them to expand their horizons. This presents a problem for you. What's the only obvious solution? Why ban the boys from playing with the Legos of course! From Fox News:
Karen Keller, who teaches at Blakely Elementary School, has been trying to get girls more interested in science and math and noticed that during the 30-minute “free-choice” time at the end of the school day, the boys frequently played with Legos. The girls did not. Keller decided to bar the boys from the building materials so girls would not be intimidated to play with them.
In an interview with the Bainbridge Island Review, Keller said, “I always tell the boys, ‘you’re going to have a turn- and I’m like, ‘yeah, when hell freezes over’ in my head. I tell them, ‘You’ll have a turn’ because I don’t want them to feel bad.”Keller supposedly cited some studies supporting her decision, and went to the Bainbridge School Foundation to get help purchasing brand-spanking-new Lego sets for her classroom. Of course she didn't exactly tell them what she'd be doing with the new Legos:
She asked for funding to purchase LEGO Education Community Starter Kits for three Blakely classrooms, writing that “while it’s not necessary to board up the playhouse and adopt the babies out, concrete steps can be taken to ameliorate the gender gap in the kindergarten and present engaging ways to develop girls’ spatial skills.”
What she didn’t tell BSF, however, was that the boys wouldn’t get to play with the new 1,907-piece sets.Parents were rightly pissed as hell when they heard what Keller had been doing. Who wouldn't be? Whether or not she can cite studies that back her up (and I'd question the legitimacy of these studies) what the hell kind of message is she sending to the boys in her class? Keller's essentially telling them that they don't matter. In the grand scheme of things the girls are more important than the boys are. They don't need any encouragement, they need to step out of the way and let the girls have their turn. How is that going to affect their self-esteem?
The really horrible thing about all of this is that it's coming from a freaking TEACHER. Teachers are, aside from parents, probably the most important adults in a child's life. Kids always remember their teachers, the good ones especially. A teacher has the chance to make a profound difference in a child's life. Teachers are supposed to be the ones who nurture and encourage all of their students. Good teachers instill a lifelong love of learning in the kids they teach. Years later kids will often come back to their favorite teachers, sometimes with kids of their own, and tell the teacher just how special they really were to them.
What Keller has done is the complete, exact opposite of this. Instead of lifting up all of her students, she singled out only a few of them. Keller told her students that only some of them are worth encouraging. Only some of them actually matter in the grand scheme of things. What's even worse is she seems to get some perverse sort of glee from what she's done. Keller has completely abused the sacred trust that parents and kids place in their teachers. And for what? To bring about a change that SHE thinks needs to happen out of a misguided sense of social justice.
Karen Keller is not a teacher at Blakely Elementary School. Karen Keller is a playground bully who doesn't deserve the respect due a proper teacher.