I teach at an all boys Catholic school, in Mandaluyong CIty, Philippines. Our combined enrollment for both the grade school and high school is approximately 5,200. Aside from excellent academics, we offer over 34 co-curricular programs including Math, Science, Social Studies, Sports clubs and more. We also have 10 extra-curricular organizations such as the dance club and scouts club. There are two more schools within the vicinity that are all boys. Our school has the largest enrollment, even though our tuition is high.
Our grade school
We have 9 levels in our grade school – kindergarten through grade 7. Each level has about 10 classes of all boys. We have a total of 188 grade school teachers, each with about 40 boys per class. Our grade school enrollment is 3,428.
Our high school
We have 4 levels in our high school – 1st year through the 4th year. Similar to our grade school, each level has about 10 classes. With 40-44 high school boys in each class, our high school enrollment is 1,742 total. We have113 classroom teachers for the high school department, 69 of which are female. Each teacher has between 40-43 boys for an 80 minute period.
Filipino and English are the official languages in the Philippines.
Books that they like:
American authors have a huge influence with our Filipino boys. Most of my boys (high school) love to read American fiction. A couple of popular books include: Eragon, the Harry Potter Series, Twilight, Calvin and Hobbs comic books, etc. They especially like Japanese Manga! I saw a couple of students in a mall who went to a Manga convention. They also like reading non fiction particularly Paulo Coelho books like Eleven Minutes and the Alchemist. Also Mitch Albom’s Five People You Meet in Heaven.
Our reading program
We have a program called SSRP or Supervised Study and Reading Program. This program aims to inculcate good study and reading habits in the students. It provides them with the opportunity every other week to work in an atmosphere that is conducive for learning. Assignments can be done in a creative and collaborative manner. Aside from the SSRP, we also have a Reading Program which aims to improve, develop and increase the reading competencies and abilities of the students. Likewise, it is geared towards helping students use appropriate reading skills necessary in the study and learning of different content subjects.
Interviewing my class of 43 high school boys
I was able to conduct an informal interview with some of my students regarding their reading habits. Out of 43 students here are the results:
- 7 boys said that they love reading. These students spend time reading mostly fictional books. Some boys like to read Paulo Ceolho books. There is even one boy who reads the dictionary. (How amazing is that?!) These 7 readers are the ones who are in the top 10 percent of the class. Most of them are the ones who excel in academics. They also are good in recitation.
- 23 said that they don’t hate reading but they don’t love it either. They are the ones who do not read books outside school requirement but read comics and magazines every once in a while.
- 10 boys said that they are not interested in reading, especially required school readings. They would rather spend time playing sports. One particular student here is an athlete of the school.
- 3 boys said that they hate reading.
I briefly interviewed a few teachers at my school. The following is a summary of our discussion:
- Boys are very creative and visual.
- Boys love movement inside the classroom and love group activities.
- Boys like teamwork and to be united as a class.
- Boys like to have fun, especially with classroom pranks.
- Boys are less emotional. If you scold them today, they won’t hold a grudge on you tomorrow.
- It was a consensus that the biggest challenge in teaching all boys is trying to break the “boy culture” that has developed. Boys are sometimes less respectful when there are no girls around to impress or tame them.
- They are less conscious of how they look or groom, especially since there are no girls to show off for.
- Farting inside the classroom is common.
My Experience so far
After just finishing my 3rd year of teaching high school level three, I must say that my career so far has been wonderful! I never really thought that making an impact on 15 year old boys would be so rewarding. It’s been a great challenge, but so much fun to teach kids and be part of their lives. The best part of my job is seeing my students graduate from high school. It gives me a sense of fulfillment. I know all teachers share this joy.