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Where Are The Men (in education)

I'm from an education family. My mother was a teacher and my wife is a teacher. But in my family teaching is not just a women thing. I have a male cousin who is a kindergarten teacher. My son teaches special education students in an elementary school. And while I taught high school for 8 years I also taught in a couple of middle/elementary schools for a year. In one school I was the only adult male in the building. Many of my students had never seen a male teacher before.
So I can relate to this article. The number of male teachers is at a 40 year low. The last time the numbers went up at all there was a draft on and some men entered teaching to escape going to war. No such luck today. Why is this a problem?
In part this is a problem because young boys need role models. With so many children growing up in single parent homes many young men, especially in poor areas where education is most needed and least appreciated, do not have an adult male showing them by example that education is important. To many young men education and learning is "a girl thing."
In an ideal world kids and adults alike would be gender blind. Let me know if you find a world like that.
There article points out some of the problems. Low starting pay is one of course. But there are other systemic problems. We have a society that looks funny at male teachers. Trust me I have seen that first hand. A male teacher has to watch himself every second of the day in ways that women do not.
When a little first grader runs up to a teacher to give them a hug a male teacher knows from day one to look around to make sure someone can see that they are doing nothing improper. While you may want to return the hug your first thought is "how will it look if I touch a child?" It takes a lot of the joy out of the experience.
Now to be sure there have been men (and women too) who have taken advantage of children. But all the data shows that kids are at many times the risk of abuse at home than at school. But, well, no one wants to think about that. Better to beware the stranger.
We need more teachers but especially we need more male teachers. I'm not sure many understand that there is a problem though.

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  • lajoneslajones

    Many of the men that initially go into teaching find that the pay is not enough to support their families and/or plans for the future.  When working on my masters degree, I took alot of courses designed for school administrators, not because I was interested in administration, but because I was curious about the content taught in those courses. 

    The courses were primarily attended by men who were teachers at the time and desired to move up to administrative positions.  Many expressed frustration in the classroom, with the work load, pay, lack of respect, etc.  I guess they thought that becoming an administrator would alleviate many of these issues.

    As a result, the young boys that are growing up in single parent homes, as discussed in your post, will not encounter a male in the school unless they are in trouble and have to "go to the principals office".  This sets up a whole new problem with the lack of positive interaction between young male students and any male role models that may enter their lives.  The nuturing aspect is just not there. 

    We do have much cause for concern.  Thanks for the post.     

  • lajoneslajones

    Many of the men that initially go into teaching find that the pay is not enough to support their families and/or plans for the future.  When working on my masters degree, I took alot of courses designed for school administrators, not because I was interested in administration, but because I was curious about the content taught in those courses. 

    The courses were primarily attended by men who were teachers at the time and desired to move up to administrative positions.  Many expressed frustration in the classroom, with the work load, pay, lack of respect, etc.  I guess they thought that becoming an administrator would alleviate many of these issues.

    As a result, the young boys that are growing up in single parent homes, as discussed in your post, will not encounter a male in the school unless they are in trouble and have to "go to the principals office".  This sets up a whole new problem with the lack of positive interaction between young male students and any male role models that may enter their lives.  The nuturing aspect is just not there. 

    We do have much cause for concern.  Thanks for the post.     

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