Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thousand-year-old petroglyphs doing a double take, pointing a finger at eternity (Bruce Cockburn)

I receive regular updates from the NZ Teachers' Council under their Food For Thought umbrella. The latest one was talking about something important (I'm sure) and it casually dropped in the statistic that 76% of registered teachers in NZ are female.

Wow! I am in a real minority. Less than a quarter of teachers are male. This was a shock. I had no idea that things had progressed to this point.

Clearly the figures for Primary school teachers will have been a significant factor as only a fifth of Primary teachers are male, but this is obviously a factor for secondary as well now.

One of the main reasons I became a teacher myself was the example provided by male teachers at Primary (Mr Lindsay at Manukau Intermediate) and secondary (Warwick Gibbs and Barry Gough at Mount Albert Grammar). I seriously doubt this would have been an avenue for me without these gentlemen.

The feminisation of the profession is beyond doubt.

The number of women in primary teaching in New Zealand has
over the decade between 1992 and 2001 increased by 13%, while the number of men has decreased by 9 percent. http://www.nzei.org.nz/site/nzeite/files/misc%20documents/Men%20in%20Primary%20Teaching%20in%20New%20Zealand.pdf
This situation has not changed over the 2002-2012 decade as far as I can tell. Upshot is we need more male teachers! 

Why? For at least four reasons according to that report I've cited above:

Academic: To help address perceived learning deficits of boys
Social: To cater better for perceived social needs of boys
Environmental: To reduce an overly “feminised” nurturing ethos in primary
schools
Representational: To make primary school staff more representative of society at
large.
I would add that we need male role models in schools because males and females are different. We think differently, we act differently, we talk and listen differently and we have different learning needs.

At what point do we as a society think enough is enough? When 15% of teachers are male? 10%? 5%? Zero?

1 comment:

RIAZ UDDIN said...

Male primary teachers are desperately needed in primary schools. The job however, can be perceived as one not suitable for men. This perception is outdated and inaccurate and puts a lot of potentially great Male Primary Teachers off from joining the profession.