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Boy-looking

November 13, 2014

The other day, my son Fred couldn’t find something at school, and he told his teacher it was missing, and she said couldn’t have looked for it properly. He said he had. She found the item (whatever it was) after a brief search, and then told him he’d just been “boy-looking”.

Boy-looking. Apparently boys – unlike girls – don’t look for things properly. They (we) just cast a cursory glance and report things missing because it’s easier than hunting for them properly. I don’t know how much truth there is in this stereotype. But even if there is a lot of truth, I still don’t like the term, and I don’t think a primary school teacher should be using it to the children in her charge. It’s not the job of teachers to reinforce stereotypes, but to challenge them, I’d have thought. And if we are going to avoid gender-stereotyping it should cut both ways. I assume a primary school teacher would know better than to accuse a girl pupil of throwing like a girl, and by the same token she should not accuse a boy pupil of boy-looking.

Actually I thought about going up to the school to complain, but Fred (probably wisely) persuaded me not to.

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2 Comments
  1. I very much enjoy your posts, but believe that in this one, you may have it precisely wrong. Assuming that in England as here there is indeed a large amount of truth in the ‘male-searching’ stereotype (ignoring the political correctness evident in labelling any often accurate feature a stereotype) — then your teacher was indeed leaning against it. Presumably she did not go far enough. Presumably she would have said to you, hey — you evidently have been allowed to adopt a common sloppy habit — impatient non-systematic lazy searching– a habit that in general girls in our society are NOT allowed to develop. Well in this school,neither are you. Go search again. Take a girl along to teach you how if you can’t find the item. In this school, break yourself of the habit. Learn self discipline. Or something like that … tough love if you will. Teachers are not there to sugar coat things. Or are they?

  2. Mum talks about boy-looking sometimes. It’s a bit annoying.

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