I’m DONE! by Samuel Gachelin

“I’m done.” As an educator for the past 10 plus years, I’ve now heard this statement approximately 1,465,961 times. Yes, I’ve counted.  Have I really counted? No, Of course not. But I have heard this statement after giving an assignment more times that I wish to remember.  I mean sure, isn’t that the goal? You discuss the objective. You model the lesson. You do a part of the lesson with the students.  Then you see what they can do independently.  As a teacher, if you’ve done it once, you’ve done it a million times.  I do. We do. You do. But this article isn’t about a typical lesson plan model. Nor is it about the fact that students are able to finish the task.  As young Haitian-American boy, I was taught that education was everything.  Not only education, but also taking pride in your work. Because my parents engrained this in me, I studied hard. I doubled checked my assignments. There was no such thing of handing in messy work.  If there was a grease stain on my homework from last night’s red beans and rice, you better believe I’m re-doing it. There was no handing in wrinkled work.  Ever! And I can remember changing my handwriting as least 4 times as an adolescents, just to make sure my handwriting was neat enough. I can’t sit here and tell you that every boy in my class had the same mind frame as I did, but definitely more than a few. The problem is as I see it; majority of the girls took pride in their work… Back then, and still today. I haven’t seen much of a change when it comes to our young ladies. Handwriting is neat.  Assignments are being turned in on time, if not early.  If you give our female scholars time to color and decorate an assignment, they jump at the opportunity. …  But our boys, our young gentleman, our young male scholars today? 10 minutes after releasing them to see what they can do independently.  10 minutes after setting them free to discover the uncharted territories of their mind….”I’m done. Mr.Gachelin, I’m done.” My teacher voice responds, ” Darius, did you try your best? Did you double-check your work? 99% of the time, my question is met with a “Yes”, quicker than the blink of an eye. More often than not, minor, foolish mistakes are made that could have been prevented. More often than not, no effort was put in to handing in a quality piece of work. This to me is a major concern.   We have heard it time and time again.  Intellectually, girls develop sooner than boys. Countless research has determined that young girls are predispositions to set goals, plan ahead, and persevere when faced with obstacles. Researchers have also concluded that most of our young ladies are more inclined to adhere to directions and being organized, all of which leads us to what we see today. Boys on the other hand are less organized, less likely to plan or set goals. Rather, they enjoy the thrill in the, shall I say, competition. These young lads might not hand in their homework in on time, may night be systematized, but they want to finish first on a test…. And if lucky, get the best grade.  With or without research, our young gentlemen do not seem to have enough pride when it comes to their academics. It is my belief that the lack of pride, especially at such an early age contributes to some of their low test scores and less than stellar grades. I do not have the solutions. Maybe that comes in the next article. Rather, it is more about identifying the problem. This dilemma in my opinion has been a thorn in the side of education for some time. However to my core, I believe it has become more prevalent with each passing year. It is imperative that we find a way to instill a sense self respect, a sense of self-esteem…a more importantly, a sense of pride in our young male scholars. Until we rectify this problem, we are not DONE.