Middle school is hard. Remember? It's awkward and confusing. We are just starting to figure out ourselves as our bodies change, hormones race, we discover popularity and the importance of being accepted. Reid is a PE teacher to middle schoolers. Sounds like my nightmare but he loves it. He has always inadvertently created a safe and nurturing space for the boys in his school. I talk a lot about female issues on Stripped, but we can't forget to discuss the expectations for boys. We grow up hearing boys are expected to be tough, not show their feelings, shove emotions down and to use violence to solve problems. This obviously doesn't serve anyone well as boys grow into men. In order for their to be gender equality we cannot simply focus on the females. Reid has created something called "Los Siete" which is a place for these middle school boys to be heard, to work out their struggles, to hold each other accountable to to know that someone cares about them. Oh, and just have plain old fun. It was a sort of club that turned into a class, but most of all it seems like a brotherhood and a community. During this interview it became obvious that whether we are male, female, old or young we all need the same things. Someone to care about us, to be able to feel, to talk and to be heard. We need community and connection. These are human needs and it doesn't make boys less 'manly.' I hope that schools all over begin to implement what Reid has begun with his students. Reid is making a difference in these kids lives, he is their 'school dad.' Many of them once had trouble in academics or behavior, but add some genuine care and community and guess what? Things change.
Check out his feature on Seattle public radio HERE.
Reid always participates in the school talent show. You have to watch what he and Los Siete made last year. It's precious! (and it's Bieber) He's such a cool teacher! The audio got a little off, technical issue, not his lipsyncing skills. haha
If you want to learn more about the expectations of masculinity and their effects on boys and men check out this documentary.