Geron Spray

Teacher, none worth mentioning
Santa Fe, NM, United States

About Geron

Bio

I don't have much to brag about compared to other T.E.D. members--no patents, inventions, breakthroughs, adventures, or accomplishments. I have three goals in life--to be a good father, a good husband, and a good teacher. I'm pretty lucky to have lived the life I have thus far.

Areas of Expertise

education, reading

An idea worth spreading

Peanut butter.

I'm passionate about

FIg Newtons.

Talk to me about

Education

My TED story

The older I get, the more I realize I don't know, and the less convinced I am of my own opinions. TED helps give me a glimpse of what's possible.

Comments & conversations

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Geron Spray
Posted about 1 year ago
Courtney Martin: This isn't her mother's feminism
I try to watch all of the TED talks on feminism because it's interesting to me how feminism has evolved over the years. Overall, I'm grateful for feminism because it has broken down many barriers that otherwise would have stood in the way of my daughter. As a dad, I feel indebted. But, it's been messy. In the 1980s and 1990s I went to a large, liberal, state university that had a strong Women's Studies department, and to this day, I'm still aghast at how hateful the rhetoric was. According to many of the feminists on that campus, simply being a man was a crime. We were told that all men are oppressors in one way or another; every one of us was a soldier in the ongoing war on women and we should all be ashamed of ourselves. Any conflict between a man and a woman was because the man obviously hated women and considered them inferior. I don't hear this much anymore. Such incendiary rhetoric was counterproductive. Now, I am a public school teacher, a field I went into largely out of a concern for the plight of young boys in this country. It's a difficult subject to discuss because it often raises feminine ire. You can quote the statistics about how boys are exponentially more likely to get suspended, expelled, to drop out, go to jail, be medicated for ADHD, be placed in special education, etc. You can talk about how few men go to college these days compared to women, but none of this seems to matter. Often, when I've tried to advocate for boys, I get a lot of pushback from women, as if what's good for boys is automatically bad for girls. In my town there is a fantastic middle school for girls only. When a man tried to start a similar school for boys only, he was laughed out of town. Why is this? Could it be that today, we are so accustomed to believing that women and girls get shortchanged in everything, that it's impossible to believe that men and boys could get shortchanged in anything?
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Geron Spray
Posted about 3 years ago
Is it possible that the depiction of males (stereotypical males) in electronic media is responsible for the demise of male (general)?
When a respected man, a good man, dies in my community, speakers at his funeral talk about what a good man he was. Usually the traits they list include generosity, kindness, and sense of humor; they talk about what a good father and husband he was, and how he contributed to the community. However, the media depict the best men as those who get laid the most, those who can throw the best punch, those who can take a bullett, those who have the most money, those who have the fastest cars, those who score the most points, and those who can drink the most beers. Essentially, boys' role models in the media are rich superheroes who get laid a lot, or rich thugs who get laid a lot. When the media does portray a family man, he is normally a buffoon. He burns down the kitchen when mom is away; he cannot match his own clothes; he's socially inept; he cannot balance the family checkbook. Always, at every turn, he's outsmarted and outwitted by his funny, sexy, sassy, smart wife. So imagine little Johnny sitting at home. His parents are divorced. His dad, for whatever reason, is out of the picture. All he has to show him what a man is are sitcoms, video games, and pro sports. Yes, the media is partly to blame for "the demise of guys."
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Geron Spray
Posted about 3 years ago
Are boys' brains being "digitally rewired" in ways that inhibit success at school?
Your comments are spot-on, Seth, in my experience. I am a public school teacher, and year after year have seen the problem exactly as you describe it.Boys need to run, jump, throw, climb, yell, kick, punch, take things apart, build things, and compete--in other words, all the things they cannot do in a typical class. They're told to sit still, be quiet, keep their hands to themselves, work in groups, and read and write. All of the aformentioned norms are fine for both genders, but not all day, every day, especially for boys. Compounding the problem, I think, (and I know I open myself up to a barrage of criticism here), is that education in general, and elementary education in particular, is dominated by women. Hence, the majority of teachers are adults who cannot fundamentally understand boys. Boy behavior, then, is seen as bad behavior. We punish boys for being bad girls. When a bunch of boys are engaged in horseplay on the playgound, I keep my eye on it but let it go. When women teachers see the horseplay, they blow a whistle and threaten detention. Why? To what end? There are always "girl power" events at schools, encouraging and enticing girls to pursue certain career paths like science and math. There are girls' schools in my town. There are "girls on the run" organizations to help girls become runners and develop self esteem through exercise. None of these exists for boys. So, the curricula are not set up for boys, and the rules are stacked against boys. Meanwhile, many of these boys have no fathers at home and their role models are glorified thugs. It's no wonder so many boys grow up seeing themselves as fundamentally bad, or at least unworthy
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Geron Spray
Posted over 3 years ago
Isabel Behncke: Evolution's gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans
Perhaps Judith's problem is that her own playfullness and sexuality are too repressed to appreciate those qualities in other people, and the value they can add to a presentation such as this. I hope Dr. Izquierdo doesn't face this kind of bias everywhere. Need she be a hermaphrodite in order to gain acceptance in the scientific community?
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Geron Spray
Posted over 3 years ago
Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools
The issue I have with an incentive system is that it assumes the problem with education is the teachers. In other words, just offer the teachers more money, and they'll finally start doing a good job. Test scores will go up, kids will love learning, and the American workforce will once again excel. Right? Wrong. This philosophy completely ignores so many other factors that are outside of teachers' control, like parenting, socioeconomic status, curriculum, politics, and a system that grants all the power in a classroom to the student, and none to the teacher. I agree with a previous poster who said that Bill Gates himself represents many of the problems in education--so many influential people who know nothing about education set the standards for education. What does Gates know about teaching a 12-year-old kid?
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Geron Spray
Posted over 3 years ago
Comments
The more you say, Elenore, the more of a chauvanist you prove yourself to be. I hope you don't make boys suffer for your anger