Boys Write

Someone else's student teacher sat in my room today and observed my classroom. And you know how it is when anyone observes your classroom. You second guess yourself. The little critic in my head kept talking

Am I explaining this enough?
Do they understand what I want?
Is this going well?
Are they really trying?
Oh my God, they're talking again!

But the student teacher and I talked about what I did in class. And the things I know deep down, but never articulate, came out.

Boys. Writing.

They've got to talk about it. I know, it seems like the girls would be the ones to talk about it. The girls listen, watch, and write.

The boys. They talk. They joke. They laugh. They argue. They're loud.

It looks like they are wasting time and just messing around.


Something happens in that time. Ideas form. Words are written.

And by Friday they will have pretty decent drafts. By next Friday, they will have some amazing things written.

And so when you walk into my Creative Writing class and see that the girls are reading mentor texts and, oh so carefully, writing practice drafts. When you look and see the boys giving each other crap, arguing the rules of LARPING (don't ask), and laughing about their latest escapade, don't assume that they aren't getting anything done. Wait until you read what they write!


  1. This is so TRUE! Way to articulate what is usually just understood!

    And I have to know what LARPING is.

  2. You are a wise woman to know what the boys need.

  3. Awesome. I'm passing this on. Love the way you weave it all -- the observation, your internal dialogue, your passion, your deep-down-beliefs. I want to sit in your room.

  4. I want to sit in your room too, Deb. My boys are like that too. A couple of my STEM-focused classes are boy-majority groups that can get quite chatty during writing.

  5. Interesting how often we get frustrated with the different ways students learn and get in their way. Thanks for sharing. What is LARPING, by the way?

  6. OK Maya and Libby, LARPING--- Live Action Role Playing is when live players assume roles as specific characters ala Dungeons and Dragons. But there are more roles and things going on than I ever knew!

  7. It's a beautiful piece, Deb, showing exactly how boys do it. For some reason, your description reminded me of the differences between the greetings too. Boys shove and hit to tell someone else (male) "hey, here I am" & girls just stand & grin, sometimes ooh & ahh. Thanks for reminding us there are differences and that's okay.

  8. Love your observations. I think sometimes we (really I mean me) only do such a deep reflection when being observed or questioned about our decision making. I'm so glad you were able to articulate it! Now you can share this with your boys . . . and they can't or won't let you down!


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