Hey guys, think about teaching

Michael M. Peters is a part-time teacher in Red Bluff

Boys constitute 80 percent of all high-school dropouts, receive 70 percent of the D’s and F’s and are four to five times as likely to commit suicide as girls. More girls than boys are going to college, 89 percent of the prison population is male, 71 percent of the criminals in California come from single-mother families, the California divorce rate is 65 percent, but only 14 percent of the grade school teachers in California are men.

Boys are in deep trouble in this country, and nobody’s doing anything about it. There are plenty of support mechanisms for girls but virtually nothing for boys.

Without the father around to teach the boys how to stay out of trouble or how to get out of trouble once they get into it, boys are falling through the cracks in the floor.

In such a situation the public school system is going to have to step up to the plate. We need more male teachers in our grade schools to fill the void.

Lest all you guys in college think teaching grade school is a sissy occupation, it is not. You’ll have all kinds of bureaucrats and politicians to deal with, from the president to the governor to your local district superintendent. Half of all new school teachers quit in the first five years. Try teaching anywhere from 20 to 150 kids a day. There’s enough stress to keep you busy.

Teaching grade school used to be a male profession. Henry David Thoreau got fired from his first job as a grade school teacher because he refused to beat the kids. Shakespeare had four male graduates of Oxford as his grade school teachers. Because he had only a grade school education, the theory evolved that he couldn’t have written his plays. But he had four guys with the equivalent of Ph.D.'s from Harvard or Yale as his teachers!

All you “freeway professors” out there driving from campus to campus with your master’s degrees, try teaching grade school. In California you’ll start out at about $34,000 a year, with yearly raises of about $1,000, so after 10 years you’ll be making around $45,000. That’s enough for a guy to raise a family.

Kids are smart. They cogent and sentient and sharp as whips. And they’re more fun than college students, who just want to cut classes, drink and party. Teaching grade school will probably be the best job you’ll ever have.

Does Chico State have an affirmative-action program to recruit male grade school teachers? If not, it should.

C’mon guys, step up to the plate. All you’ll need is a university degree, and FBI clearance and another year of school to get your teaching credential. It’s your turn at bat. The boys need you.