WHO & WHAT is Tomorrow Man? – one teacher’s account of a workshop recently held in WA.
RE-INVENTING MASCULINITY ….through the disruption and re-invention of old school male stereotypes. Tomorrow man workshops explore how we can look after ourselves, our mates and families better while carving out their own version of the Aussie Man.
Gotcha4Life powers Tomorrow Man’s facilitators to roll out these workshops through schools, sporting clubs and regional communities Australia wide as an initiative to have a positive impact on men’s mental health.
“The workshops deconstruct gender stereotypes for a healthier and more sustainable expression of gender norms and provide students with a toolkit to have more meaningful conversations with emotional gravity.” says Tom Harkin – Founder of Tomorrow Man.
Recently two of Tomorrow Man’s facilitators visited the Margaret River, WA to run workshops with a group of year 10 boys. “Even before they stepped into the auditorium, the year 10 boys were boldly expressing their preconceived expectations of the 2 hour long program that they were being forced to endure, calling it ‘The Hippy workshop”, among other colorful epithets. The two hipster looking Melbournites definitely had their work cut out for them!” said Ben, their teacher.
Teachers at the school were taken by surprise when Ryder from Tomorrow Man said “Hey Ben, glad you could join us, oh and don’t worry about any behaviour stuff…we can handle all of that”.
In the first 10 minutes, the 50 or so boys tested the boundaries as they called out silly answers for the brainstorm group activity. For every ridiculous answer the facilitators, Ryder and Zac had a comeback that made these strangers slightly cooler in the eyes of the teenagers.
Then the next 90 minutes was nothing short of impactful. The only way to describe it would be as ‘secret men’s business’. In short, the session was set to go about challenging some of these gender stereotypes in a way that would demand the boys reflect on their own attitudes, behaviours and experiences.
“That 90 minutes would have been the most impactful session that I have ever experienced in my career” said Ben. “A pedagogical masterclass of cooperative activities that emotionally engaged the group. I think the fact that there were no disengaged boys, no misbehavior, no one off tasks for the entire session speaks volumes about this! There were awkward moments, uncomfortable silences, moments of
truth and at one point an estimated 25% of boys and teachers in tears. This is a testament to the impact that this process had on the group.”
“I have had large groups of boys come up and shake my hand for no other reason than I had simply shared the experience with them.” said the teacher.
Gotcha4Life has proudly partnered with Tomorrow Man and helped to deliver 156 of the 247 workshops delivered to Australian men and boys in the last 12 months.
We are working with many organisations to continue fundraising so that we can power more workshops and have all Australian males know who their Gotcha4Life mate is by 2025.