Breaking the Boy Code

I Can’t Focus: Boys and Online Learning

Episode Summary

Jack describes his experience with online learning, social distancing and starting high school in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joined by Jon Harper, assistant principal, author and host of My Bad and Teacher’s Aid podcasts.

Episode Notes

I’ve known Jack for several years. We’ve been in touch throughout the pandemic, from the initial school closures and cancellation of his summer camp to the uncertainty of a new school year and ongoing boredom of life without the social closeness and sports teams that he expected to experience in high school.

Jack’s story of two-hour online classes and tentative new friends, frustration with masks and enjoyment on Minecraft isn’t representative of every young person this year, but his search for engaging learning experiences and meaningful connections with peers is an important snapshot of adolescence in the pandemic.

For those of us who know boys, we’ve got work to do.

Continue reading on Medium


Jon’s book My Bad: 24 Educators Who Messed Up, Fessed Up & Grew delves into the importance of vulnerability for educators, and how we can grow my acknowledging our mistakes for ourselves, our colleagues and our students. Michael and Richard Hawley’s research was published in a must-have resource for teachers that work with boys: Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies That Work—and Why.

You can find out more about the online youth programming I’m doing with Next Gen Men, check out NGM Boys Club, and learn from us through our online course Raising Next Gen Men.


Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies That Work—and Why

Michael Reichert, How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men

Carola Suárez-Orozco and Desirée Baolian Qin-Hilliard, Immigrant Boys’ Experiences in U.S. Schools


If you thought this episode was worthwhile, support it through Next Gen Men.

Email to get in touch. Connect with @boypodcast on all mainstream social media. Follow the publication on Medium for more writing and the blog on Tumblr for more masculinity research and occasional podcast-related updates.

Part of Next Gen Men Podcast Studio.