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Granted, there were definitely awkward teachers or moments, but generally I think my male teachers were more interested in being friendly with us.
Admittedly, we could get away with more with the male teachers.
I think we also believed we could get away with more (extending deadlines, delaying a test) with the male teachers compared with the female teachers, who wouldn't put up with it.
A different recurring observation in my former students' commentaries made it clear that the age of their teachers often seemed to matter more than the gender.
As I said at the start, when I think about the plight of inexperienced, young male teachers in an all-girls school, I feel compassion.
I should note, by way of conclusion, that perhaps I was oblivious to the truths around me, but I never felt I was at any advantage or disadvantage relative to the female teachers in dealing with my students. The best-known study on how a teacher's gender matters, published in 2006 by Thomas Dee of Stanford University, found that middle-school boys learn more from men and middle-school girls learn more from women.
This latter point was a constant in the commentary—the observation that the male teachers joked around with their students much more than the female teachers did and created an easy-going atmosphere in the classroom.
One student, now a college sophomore, wrote: As a general rule, I'd say our male teachers were more relaxed around us, and more willing to have fun with us.
Here's some of what I learned, with more to come later.Let's all pause for a silent moment of compassion for young male teachers in all-girls high schools. I asked each of my former students if she would tell me how she regarded her male and female teachers (not individually, by name, but as genders). I contacted these young women, all of them now college students or recent college graduates, to get a sense of how they perceived their male and female teachers in high school.It was almost like our female teachers knew our game better and weren't willing to play it.I would say generally our female teachers were more uptight and less friendly. I think we tended to become more comfortable around the male teachers because they seemed more laid back than many of the female teachers.