10 June 2010

Boys Don't Cry?

One of the boys in my class lost a game to another girl and he freaked out - he started swinging his arms and stomping his feet. Inadvertently he hit me, so I told him he had to leave the class for 5 minutes. He refused and instead sat down on the cushions and cried. So I picked him up, carried him out of class and sat him down outside the room. The tears kept rolling down his cheeks and he buried his face in his sleeve so none of the other children (nor the giggling mothers who were also outside the class) could see him. Oh, this boy is 10 years old.

What 10 year old cries because they lose a game to another kid? I was embarrassed for him. I told them to touch their noses with their right hands and the girl was faster than the boy, so she got a point. It's not like he got the answer wrong - he was just slower. When I tried to bring him back in he again refused. Perhaps he realized he was being a baby and felt embarrassed? I had to pick him up again and carry him into class, stand him up and give him a ball to shoot in the basket on the wall (we play "shoot the basket" a lot). Miraculously he got the ball in the basket (they rarely do) and afterward all was well.

After talking with other teachers I've found out that the crying boy phenomenon is common. I don't think there's anything wrong with crying - if it's for a legitimate reason. I had a different boy in the same class cry once but he got hit in the eye by one of the other students. There's no shame in crying there. But because you lost a game?

The consensus seems to be that it's because Japanese boys are spoiled. I agree with this. I see more boys walking over their mothers and getting away with murder than I have seen in Canada. It's ridiculous. If these boys don't get what they want from their mothers they start to cry or they throw temper tantrums. It's logical for them to assume that the same thing will work with Native teachers. This is one reality I'm happily destroying, one crying boy at a time.

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