Male Teachers

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Are There Any Male Teachers Out There? By Dawn Farrell and Michelle McHugh

As an individual walks through the halls of an elementary school more often than not they will observe only female teachers. One may ask are there any males in this profession? If so where are they? Gender roles have changed in the United States, yet there are still very few male teachers in the classroom especially at the elementary level.

Education has always been predominantly a female profession. According to statistics from National Education Association (NEA) only 25% of our nation’s 3 million teachers are men. Researchers have found that men that are teachers would rather teach at the middle school or secondary level. They prefer to teach specific topics to a more mature and academically advanced student population compared to teaching a less advanced student population where the main focus is to assist in their overall development.

Males find it difficult to break into the teaching profession. Economically teachers’ salaries are not as high as other business professional’s. Due to gender roles and stereotypes males face added societal pressures of being able to provide for their families. Males believe that teaching will not be lucrative enough profession to support their families therefore they often shy away from a career in teaching. In fact, Annie Pleshette-Murphy states in her article that it is extremely important for families to advocate for a pay raise for educators as a whole; this could help lure more males into the teaching profession due to an increased financial security and comfort. Furthermore, she continues to mention the fact that the state of Michigan currently offers the highest salaries for facilitators and the greatest percentage of males as classroom teachers…could this really just be chance? One would most likely think not.

Although money is definitely a huge factor related to the deficit of male teachers in today’s classrooms, there are other negative societal stereotypes that tend to keep males from entering the field of teaching, especially in early childhood settings. Unfortunately, there are many people that fear the idea of males wanting to work with young children. It has been shown that many individuals judge male figures in the academic environment, especially in early childcare facilities. It is truly disheartening that a man’s motivation behind why he chooses to work with children is questioned so often. Sadly, male teachers are viewed by assumptions and judgments; they fall under stereotypes that precede them as non-nurturing individuals just because of their gender. If only families could understand the need for more men in the educational arena and put their fears and assumptions aside or discard of them completely in order to give children the opportunity to learn from both male and female educators. Alexandra Zabjek briefly introduces the fact that many people still view male facilitators as a threat to young children, assuming that just because they want to work with kids they must be a pedophile. Consequently, many young children beginning their education journey are deprived the opportunity to have teacher role models from both sexes.

In the article written by Amanda Bass, the idea of children needing a male role model in school is discussed. She addresses the fact that for many young children today there is no father-figure present; therefore, it is important for children to have at least one male teacher during their academic journey to look up to, view as a role model and learn from. However, is having a male teacher more important for boy than girls or equally as imperative?

Recent studies have shown that although a male classroom teacher is beneficial to all children, especially with an increasing number coming from single-parent homes in which the father isn’t present, there have been studies that have exemplified specific benefits to the young boys in classrooms with male teachers. Research studies from Britain’s Training and Development Agency for Schools showcase the fact that having a male teacher in the classroom for one year significantly helped build up the boy students’ self-esteem. Furthermore, the information collected concludes that aside from showing intrinsic changes in the boys in the class, the male educators company attributed to closing the achievement gap between the boys and girls in the class studied considerably.

In closing, it is imperative to begin to somehow break down the social barriers for men entering the education field. In what ways can this be done? The possibilities are endless and the studies speak for themselves. Children should be able to be taught by both women and men, while men should be able to follow their passion and pursue their love for teaching without worrying about societal stereotypes.

Questions to consider and/or research further:

1. How can society get more men into the teaching profession?

2. Does it affect the development of students not to have male teachers until middle or secondary school?

3. Should a man be questioned if he wants to pursue a career in teaching?

Work Cited:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/40906Our nations

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/252612_maleteachers19.html

http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6070282

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/gender-gap-in-teaching-grows-only-24-of-new-recruits-are-men-942819.html

http://www.boston.com/news/education/k_12/articles/2008/11/18/hunt_is_on_for_more_men_to_lead_classrooms?mode=PF

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24 responses to “Male Teachers

  1. Very close friends of mine married recently, they are both teachers and the question on everyone’s mind was how will these two afford a family when they decide to start one. How will one person be able to stay at home on their salaries? I agree, I think the idea of supporting a family stops most men from pursuing a career in education. Unfortunately, because of the salary obstacle our students are missing out on potentially great teachers.

  2. I don’t think it should matter if you are male or female and want to be a teacher. I feel often the males in the education field are in more authoritative positions. I see more males as principals and assistant principals then in the classrooms themselves. I do not know if that is because of money or the power of the position. Gender definitely still plays a role in the education system. However, I feel students need to experience both male and female teachers. I feel this will benefit the students and teach them to adjust to both genders as authority figures.

  3. alejandrojotojoto

    I think males as females are great teachers. The gender does not matter what it matters is how good this person is with children and how much he/she can influence the life of the children. I also believe that male teachers play an important part for those children that do not have a father figure at home.

  4. As a male, looking to be an elementary school teacher, I find a lot of the things noted in this article really hits home. Personally, I feel that having male teachers at a young age is really beneficial, for the simple fact that there really aren’t many of them. I really dont have an answer to why there arent more male teachers, except that maybe women are genetically predisposed to wanting to be around small children, and most men only tolerate their own children. Not to take a celebratory stance on this issue but I find it beneficial for me in becoming a teacher, because maybe I will have a better chance of getting a job simply for being a male…but at the end of the day, you still have to be good at what you do.

  5. I think more men should be encouraged to teach at the elementary level. I had two male teachers in elementary school (2nd & 6th grades) & I thought it was a great experience. Unfortunately there is defiantly a stereotype against males teaching in the elementary schools, especially in the younger grades. When I was in 2nd grade half of the girls in the class switched their daughters out because they didn’t want them to have a male teacher.

  6. I never considered the salary factor in regards to male teachers. I always assumed that it was the societal influences alone that deterred men from teaching at the elementary level.
    It makes sense that students would benefit from having learning experiences with both male and female teachers. I’m sure men bring a different and beneficial element to the classroom setting. It is a shame that there is such a stigma attached to male teachers.
    I have to say, though, that I have noticed an increase in the male teacher population in today’s elementary schools as compared to when I attended elementary school. Hopefully this is an indication of things to come in the future.

  7. I’ve had quite a few high school teachers that were males but only one elementary school teacher and I have to say it was a nice change. He was a great teacher and like was said in the article I think he was a great role model. I did a research paper during my undergrad about the history of educating deaf students and according to one of the books in the past, before the 19th century, teachers were predominantly male and the influx of women into schools was brought about by the need for nurturing female teachers that could take care of the deaf students at the boarding type schools they went to. I don’t know how true or how much of an influence that really had but I thought it was really interesting.

  8. I recently was subbing at an elementary school and I was suprised to see a male art teacher. I never really thought of men as teachers in elementary schools. However, I do feel it is beneficial to have an additional male role model in your life when you are in elementary school. For some children, they don’t even have one at home. Why must we question when men want to be elementary school teachers? It is sad our society is this way. I bet you if their were more male teachers, children would be more disciplined and better behaved.

  9. As a mother of 2 daughters in elementary school, I would have to admit that I am more comfortable with a female teacher as their general teacher. I do think it is a great experience for children to have a male teacher and they would probably benefit from such an experience but I would be lying if I said I would not be a little uneasy. I think it is just conditioning but I do feel that females would be more nurturing in the younger grades. From 4th grade and up, I think I would be fine with a male teacher for my daughters.

    I also agree that salary probably has played a large role in deterring male teachers as well as the way society perceives the profession as a female one.

    I think it is important for children to see jobs and professions fulfilled by a diverse population. This would allow for more open minded thinking and more acceptance of differences and possibilities. Perhaps if my experiences in elementary school were different, I would not have the prejudices of male teachers I struggle with today.

  10. And the strange thing is, while the teaching force is mostly women, the administrators (superintendents, principals) are mostly men. Why is that? Is it a problem? What can we do to address the imbalance?

  11. I think children need a balance in their lives. Unfortunately these days not as many couples stay together so I think it would be nice if they had an opportunity to see male figures in the classroom. I believe children need to see that the possibilities are endless, in the classroom they should see males and females, in the police force and fire department they should see both males and females as well, at the checkout counter, in hospitals and everywhere else too. We want our children to grow up knowing that anything they want to be is possible. We are lucky in this day in age where these possibilities are seen but if we are taking a step backwards when it comes to the classroom then Im afraid its not such a good thing.

    A way in which we could fix this may be to stress more importance on education, to actively respect our teachers. Men need to see that teaching is not easy and is not just a job for nurturing women but also something that they must contribute to. We fall into a stereo type with figures pointing women towards the classrooms and men towards the “rule maker’s positions” such as administrators, and principals.

  12. I think it’s sad that we are considering raising teacher salaries as a reason to draw men to the field of education. Am I the only one who sees the fault in that idea? It is already assuming that the status quo is ok for women but in order to attract males to the profession, they clearly need to be in a money making position and therefore a change should be made. Stereotypes and habits fixated on cultural representations of the past are to blame.

  13. As an elementary student during the 1970’s, I did not have a male teacher until the 5th grade and he was one of the best teachers I ever had. My children are in the same school district now, and there are still no primary school teachers who are male. I do think we as a a society need to move past the stereotypes of traditional male/female roles. There has been a tremendous shift in parenting roles with many more men staying home with children while their spouses work. This year, my 5th grade daughter has 2 classroom teachers and one of them is a young man who is an excellent teacher and brings a new voice to the classroom. I know that my daughter has enjoyed school tremendously this year due to the unique relationship her teachers share and the role her male teacher plays. I don’t think men are any less capable of being nurturing, and in some cases I think young students may respond more positively to a male role model. I hope we see some changes soon.

  14. As a man pursuing to become a high school teacher, I shouldn’t be questioned about my career choice. I want to teach English, regardless of stereotype and pay, because it’s my passion. And with this article, I feel that its points really spoke to me, encouraging me to keep steadfast with my pursuit.

  15. When I reflect upon my favorite teachers, all of them happen to be men! While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had two exemplary male teachers who positively impacted my life. Both were kind, nurturing, understanding, and encouraged me to devise outstanding work. Both men are husbands and fathers. I saw these two professors as father figures, since my biological father was absent for much of my life. These two teachers gave me a positive outlook on the opposite sex and made me realize that there are decent men out there. Even though I took their classes three years ago, I am still in contact with these men. On several occasions, I went out to lunch with these teachers. It didn’t feel uncomfortable in the least. If it wasn’t for these two extraordinary individuals, I would not have enjoyed college, or pursued a minor in philosophy (one of them was a philosophy professor).
    It saddens me that people still stereotype male teachers. Even though these two professors teach on the college level, I believe their personalities greatly resemble those of elementary school teachers: kind, nurturing, and loving. The assumption of male teachers being pedophiles is astounding to me. Does anyone remember the countless news stories of women sleeping with their male students? One in particular had her student’s baby. People should take these appalling stories into consideration before judging male teachers.

  16. While pursuing my undergraduate degree, I had two exemplary male teachers who positively impacted my life. Both were kind, nurturing, understanding, and encouraged me to devise outstanding work. Both men are husbands and fathers. I saw these two professors as father figures, since my biological father was absent for much of my life. These two teachers gave me a positive outlook on the opposite sex and made me realize that there are decent men out there. Even though I took their classes three years ago, I am still in contact with these men. On several occasions, I went out to lunch with these teachers. It didn’t feel uncomfortable in the least. If it wasn’t for these two extraordinary individuals, I would not have enjoyed college, or pursued a minor in philosophy (one of them was a philosophy professor).
    It saddens me that people still stereotype male teachers. Even though these two professors teach on the college level, I believe their personalities greatly resemble those of elementary school teachers: kind, nurturing, and loving. The assumption of male teachers being pedophiles is astounding to me. Does anyone remember the countless news stories of women sleeping with their male students? One in particular had her student’s baby. People should take these appalling stories into consideration before judging male teachers.

  17. “Male Teachers” is a very important article that must stem outwardly into colleges and universities for increased programming not just for men, but also for male/female minorities and whites. I think that the emphasis should be on cultural diversity rather than the sex of a teacher, but since the article is about male teachers, there are studies written by Banks & Banks (as well as others) regarding the effectiveness of teachers from a reflective background being role models for students who come from the same background. So I agree that it’s good for both boys and girls to be taught by both men and women.

    Further, if we mix the idea of hiring for diversity with qualifications instead of nepatism (sp?), It’s not what you know, it’s who you know through the hiring process–Does anybody see this still happening?), the US could be an awesome example of national education but unfortunately, we can’t seem to overcome that part of the plan.

    A learning environment should have a diverse population of pedagogues teaching students and fair pay across the board should be the standard. I also think that everyone should get a salary boost just for teaching children (including Teacher Assistants), but the money problem is based on real estate affordability rather than national standards of education quality. Everybody can’t work in high paying districts.

  18. Obviously this article directly affects me and my future aspirations in becoming a teacher. Many of the things discussed in this article are things that I myself have pondered before deciding to pursue teaching (salaries, society’s outlook, etc.). Being able to talk to a lot of people within the education profession I have proposed many of these questions and concerns to those people. Everyone I have talked to has felt very strongly about having more male teachers within the classroom, and have encouraged me to pursue teaching. These people have expressed to me the need for male teachers because of the same reasons stated in this article, such as the single mother homes that kids come from especially boys. I believe that men and women will have different affects on school children and I believe that both are important to the children and our future society.
    I was fortunate to have a male teacher in the 7th grade and remember it as a good experience for the entire class, both girls and boys loved his math class. When I think of being a good teacher as a male I think of that teacher and how he was able to connect with the students, and give a good impression. The negative stereotypes that surround male teachers, as mentioned in the article, don’t push me away but only make me want to be very successful within this profession.

  19. I remember going to elementray school myself and there only being (besides the Ph Ed teacher) one male teacher in the entire school. He taught 3rd grade. I wasn’t lucky enough to have him as a teacher, but I heard nothing but great things about him.

    I think it is extremely important to have male teachers in the classroom, especially at the elementary level. Like this article explains, many children today are coming from single parent families, and most of the time a family without a father-figure.

    For the most part, men tend to be more strict then females. Children need to have this type of discipline while at school. Since primary school is the most important years in a child’s education, it is important to have that balance of teacher gender at school, otherwise, children, especially boys will grow up thinking that men aren’t suppose to teach young children, and therefore will never persue a career in elementary education.

    I also think that we as adults need to lay to rest the stereotype that all male teachers teach young children becuase they are a pedophiler. If we keeping thinking like this we are ony sending wrong messages to our child. Therefore, children will be afraid to learn by male teachers.

    I don’t think male teachers should be given the benefit of higher pay over female teachers in order to get them in the classroon, but there should be some sort of incentive for them to teach elementary grades. Realistically, teaching is not a profession that one goes into to become rich, a person teaches for the love of the profession. So if a male wants to teach, I say let him teach.

  20. This article poses a good argument. All students no matter what age, need to experience different gender roles in the classroom. A balance of gender is healthy for the developing mind of a child. Having more male teachers on the elementary level can indeed be beneficial for our youth. It may even begin to set a trend for younger males in pursuing a field in teaching. Our youth need to experience an unbiased society so they feel free to choose a career that they are enthusiastic about pursuing.

  21. I can see why the salary factor would keep males away from the teaching profession. It is also true about the assumed questions of why a male would want to teach young children because of the negative societal stereotypes. Of course, I think it is all bogus and males should just teach if they want to despite what society says.
    I think another reason for males preferring to teach higher grade levels other than elementary is a simple explanation. Most men do not want to deal with younger children unless its their own children. Honestly, not a lot of men want to spend time with younger children, I think its different with women. I am not saying that there are no sensitive men who love children out there, but it is somewhat wrong; but here I go stereo-typing and so I will stop…
    I think in the future there will be more males in the teaching profession. When I was in school years ago, I can only remember 6 male teachers throughout my elementary-high school years. I hope there are more male teachers in the future because I also agree that it could be beneficial for the youth, especially young boys. I think they would look up to a male teacher more than a female teacher and be more eager to learn. Anyone who wants to guide and teach children to be the best they could be should be a teacher, male or female and they should not be judged based on their gender.

  22. Male teachers are a necessity in Elementary School. During one of my field work observations at a Long Island school, I met a male third grade teacher. He was excellent. Every student had great respect for him as well as for their fellow classmates.

    What I admired about this class was how the students showed so much enthusiasm with their classroom jobs/responsibilities. They were proud of being a leader in a particular task.

    This class was so well behaved it was phenomenal. I was especially amazed with how well behaved the boys were. I have experienced observing a female teacher who had trouble managing the boys in her class. This doesn’t mean female teachers are incapable of managing boys in their class, but male students do need a male role model in the class. In low income school districts some children have a better connection and learn better from a male teacher.

  23. I think that it is really sad that there is such a low number of male teachers. If the main reason they are not entering the field is due to the salary amount then it makes the situation even worse. I think that there are obviously a large number of teachers out there that are capable of supporting themselves on a teachers’ salary, so why can’t a man do the same? I agree with the article that a male figure would be very beneficial for those students that lack that father figure in their life. The education system should try and send out messages that a male working in the teaching system is not only acceptable, but a great career path that they should follow. Women have been able to obtain jobs that were once male only fields, why can’t men do the same? Hopefully one day there will be an equal amount of male and female educators within the field.

  24. It is sad that we do not see more male teachers in elementary schools. I never looked at it from a financial prospective but I can see that. Although in today’s world a woman can be the bread winner in the family.
    I think the fact that men in the elementary schools are stereotyped is a large reason why we do not see more of them. I find that so sad because children need that. I know mothers are more comfortable with their little girls having a woman because they they are more nuturing and I firmly believe that just because you are a female does not make you nuturing or kind or loving. I have met more men in my life time that are and it has nothing to do with their sexuality.
    I hope in future years we see more men in elememtary schools.
    As someone who is a career change, you must love what you do to be happy and be effective that is the bottom line. So if a male is that why not have him in a 3rd grade class? I would much rather my children have someone who wants to be there then a woman who is miserable!

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