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The Teacher Gender-Gap
posted by: Larisa | June 05, 2012, 02:16 PM   

According to the most recent population survey released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the teaching gender gap is still alive and well. Male educators constitute just 2.3% of pre-K and kindergarten teachers, 18.3% of the elementary and middle school teacher population, and 42% of the high school level teaching staff.  These numbers are down from 2007, but suggest a clear female majority in the teaching profession, especially in the earlier grades.

So why are male teachers still few-and-far-between in the United States?  According to expert analysis, the most readily apparent answer is that sexism and status deter men from entering the teaching field.

Girls have increasingly been encouraged to engage in typically male-dominated fields, like math and science in recent years, but boys have been given almost no incentive to engage in female-dominated professions, like education.  As pointed out by Robert M. Cappuozzo, an early childhood education professor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, “We don’t give boys the same opportunities that we give girls.”  Because of this discrepancy, boys might be disinclined to consider a career in teaching.

There’s also a disappointing stigma attached to male teachers who teach the earlier grades.  According to Jeffrey M. Daitsman, a researcher at the Center for Practitioner Researcher at National-Louis University, male teachers responsible for younger students are accused of being “not masculine.”  The stereotype encourages the thinking that, because male teachers are supposed to be disciplinarians, male teachers are “not masculine” for wanting to teach younger children who are not often heavily disciplined.

In addition to sexism, men are often deterred from teaching because of the pay associated with being an educator.  Many men feel the traditional pressure of being the “breadwinner,” and teaching is not known for being a lucrative profession.  Bryan G. Nelson, the head of the Minneapolis-based nonprofit, MenTeach, says, “If we started paying elementary teachers $150,000 a year, we’d see a massive influx of male teachers.”

Further, as the call for education reform grows louder, teaching is proving to a very challenging profession. From the stress of implementing new policies, to the continued pressure of competition and accountability, teaching is not a job for the faint of heart.

Teachers, why do you think about the widening of the gender-gap among teachers?  Why aren’t there more male teachers?  What should be done to remedy this problem?
  Comment below.

Comments (5)Add Comment
written by Terri, January 15, 2019

It's 2019 as I write this, so anything masculine is 'toxic'.

But if we could serious, maybe legislators could be convinced to pass regulation & laws that mandate government schools implement non-discriminatory policies that are associated with gender.

It could be a tool of school management designed to make sure there is equal opportunity of employment for all.

The effective affirmative action also includes internal reporting of systems as a method of measuring the progress of the contractor which is needed for achieving the workforce that could be expected in the absence of such discrimination.
written by Daniel Mathis, Washington , December 30, 2018

Over 30 yrs ago, I student taught as a kindergarten teacher, and subsequently applied for a kindergarten job opening in the same district. The response I received was, "The district isn't ready for a male kindergarten teacher." Interestly enough, I was able to become the first male kindergarten teacher in NSW Australia a year later, and eventually participated in an early childhood education research program there though my degree was K-12.

Nearly 45 years later, in a society now hypersensitive on gender, race equality, the question still beckons to be answered,"Why not parity when it comes to male teacher/student demographics?"

Testimonial: Male K-6 teachers are discouraged by school principles from applying
written by james, midland tx, November 25, 2017

I passed my teacher certification exams in science and math concentration after having taught K-6 year olds very successfully in ESL classrooms abroad, thinking I enjoyed teaching that age group. I was the only male in a class of thirty-four teachers being certified. After certification I had two conflicting pieces of information to process, one was a statistic reported by the department of education indicating that teachers were needed for kindergarten and elementary grades. The other piece of information from the local schools principles was that male teachers are not encouraged to apply for kindergarten and elementary positions, and suggested to teach high school instead, even by the placement coordinators working with the school district. Various reasons were given in the various all-female settings, and there is a barrier I encountered I am sure my female colleagues did not. I can confirm, there is bias towards male teachers, and this needs to be examined. I ended up deciding the administrative environment in these schools was the primary stumbling block and proceeded to pursue a second Masters degree instead of teaching K-6, because beginning my teaching career by rising up and disputing an illogical gender based bias sounded like a job for someone with something to prove, I'm not wired that way.
Primary Teacher, Shasta Head Start
written by Redding, CA, May 13, 2017

This article left out one stigma against male teachers. The fact that this country automatically thinks because a man is teaching young children, he is a child molester. I, too, have seen one or two male aides come through Head Start and both boys and girls respond well to them. Children at Head Start are dealing with broken homes, homelessness, foster homes, and the list goes on. Having a male role model for the children would help the boys learn how to be men and for the boys to learn how to treat girls. Child molesters are not only men, there are female child molesters too. Then you have those people who feel a man teacher might inluence the children on how to be gay. There are gay women teachers too. How to remedy the problem? Educate the society on how important the male role model is for a growing mind. Can that happen, most likely not. Our society may feel they are up on the latetest trends, but still very old fashioned when it comes to raising children.
Early Intervention Pre K
written by Kristy McHan, Kuna, Idaho, May 16, 2016

I think that it is sad! Children respond so well to male teachers/authority figures and they just don't get that enough in Elementary school. So many children need a positive male role model and they have to wait until middle school or high school for these opportunities. I know for myself, my first male teacher was in the sixth grade, and he is still to this day, my favorite teacher. I didn't have a Dad growing up, and a male role model would have been a wonderful thing for me.
The school that I teach in has one male teacher. He teaches health and the preschool PE class. ONE. Our Principle is female. Our Assistant Principle is female. Our safe school, nurse, counselor, behavior specialist, speech specialist, etc... all female.
The kids love going to PE to see Mr. M one day a week. It really is too bad that they don't have more opportunities for male interaction.

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