Friday, February 10, 2017

Something good happened at the High School on Wednesday

Mr. Ryan Anderson was teaching Anatomy last hour at Eaton Rapids High School on Wednesday, February 8, 2017.  It is a rigorous, senior level class.

His habit is to present a little bit of material and then scan the class to pick up on body language.  Good teachers do this.  The more quickly a teacher can "pick up" that the class is lost, the less time is wasted presenting material the class is not prepared to hear.  There is no point in presenting more advanced material when the foundation is poorly learned.

On two of his scans, he noticed that many, maybe even most, of the girls had their hands in their laps and were not making eye contact.  Something was up.

Eaton Rapids Public Schools has a policy on electronic devices.  It is possible that Mr. Anderson did not follow that policy to the exact comma and period.  I think he did something better.

He stopped presenting.  He asked, "What is going on?" in a non-accusing tone.

It took a few minutes to tease the truth out of them.  They knew they had been caught.

The girls were in a "chat" and they were "researching" boys.

In general, research is a good thing.  It is a skill that we want our graduates to be adept at.  But sometimes it is worth looking at the details.

Something in what he was hearing did not quite ring true to Mr. Anderson.  He kept digging.

They were stalking.

Mr. Anderson called them on it.  He asked them, "How would you feel if boys...boys you did not even know...were digging up all the pictures that had ever been taken of you...your phone number and address...every catty or insulting comment anybody had ever written about you?"

They were horrified.  That would be "creepy".

Mr. Anderson continued:  "If it is not acceptable for boys to do to girls, then it is not acceptable for girls to do to boys."

I suppose that it was inevitable.  One of the girls accused Mr. Anderson of being an anti-feminist.

Mr. Anderson's reply was classic:  "The evidence is that I am more of a feminist than you are.  Feminism is about equality, not advantage."

According to my unimpeachable source, the entire exchange took about five minutes.  Mr. Anderson resumed his class.  After Mr. Anderson redirected the class the girls tucked their electronic devices back into their pockets.  Education was delivered.  Learning was received.

I am sure Mr. Anderson is a great guy although I have never met him.  My intention is not to put him in the spotlight.  That is not the main point.

My belief is that interactions like this happen in schools across most of America many thousands of times a day.  Across most of America this is the norm rather than the exception.  This just happens to be a case where I, a blogger, heard the pertinent details.

You won't see it in the news.

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