Male primary school teachers.

(82 Posts)
Snowfire Sat 17-Nov-12 19:30:25

I'm a governor at our small (3 mixed year classes) primary school. Four years ago, the three teachers were all older ladies. When the first one retired, she was replaced by a young newly qualified male teacher who really changed the dynamics of the school. The children love him and now four years on, we couldn't imagine not having him in the school!
Last year another teacher announced she was planning to retire so we advertised again for an NQT and had loads of applications. At interview, the best candidate by far was another young man so we then had 2 male teachers.
The lady teacher in the EYFS (R & yr1) has decided to retire at Xmas so we are (once again) recruiting. Short listing yesterday showed only one outstanding candidate who is again male! The HT has met him and says he seems wonderful but this would mean we would have an all male teaching staff. HT is concerned that parents may be put off by this & TBH, I can see what she means but should this be an issue?

rrbrigi Tue 20-Nov-12 11:26:47

I would like to appologize. I did not mean to hurt any female teachers feeling. I do think a female teacher can be as good as a male teacher and vice versa. thanks

owlelf Tue 20-Nov-12 12:56:00

I'm confused by the suggestions that male teachers can't supervise girls changing for PE, assist children who have had accidents or teach sex education in the same way as female teachers.

Could someone clarify whether male teachers are restricted in these tasks in a different way to female teachers please?

I had hoped that there wouldn't be a difference, but several posts suggest that there is.

AngelsWithSilverWings Tue 20-Nov-12 13:15:57

Last night I suggested to my DS aged 7 that he could be a teacher when he grows up ( he was helping his sister with her phonics).

He looked at me in disgust and said "don't be stupid Mum, I don't want to be working with girls all day"

He honestly believes that only women can be teachers because it's all he has ever known.

He was amazed when I told him that half the teachers at my (1970's) primary school were men.

We absolutely need more male primary school teachers.

SoupDragon Tue 20-Nov-12 13:50:12

I agree, Owlef. Heaven knows what they did when the only male member of staff at DDs was the caretaker. hmm All those poor little boys... sad

Ladymuck Tue 20-Nov-12 14:07:16

In the schools which my children have gone to, owlelf, children have always had one sex education lesson in single sex groups taught by a teacher of the same gender. That may now be a challenge given that all junior school teachers are male. It would equally be a challenge if all the teachers are female, but we have never had that position. We have always had at least one male teacher. Presumably in all female-teacher schools, the boys miss out that session? Or perhaps it happens but is led by a female teacher?

Ditto supervising Year 6 girls and boys getting changed in separate changing rooms. Until this year we have had staff of both genders so it has not been a problem. I think that I would have more of an issue with a male teacher supervising the girls than vice versa, but that is mainly due to the fact that more girls will have hit puberty at that stage whereas the reverse would not be true.

I do think that having girls hitting puberty earlier does make a difference. It can be harder for a girl to have to talk to her male teacher about periods and how these are handled within a primary school environment. Eg in some school not all school toilets are fitted with san bins, and girls may have to use staff toilets. I do think that in the event that a year 6 girl has "an accident" with her period, then she should have access to a female teacher where possible. I have every respect for the male teachers at ds's school, but there are a couple who would probably be out of their depth if faced by that situation!

SoupDragon Tue 20-Nov-12 14:10:00

Our primary school must have used the caretaker then hmm Or possibly not worried about this kind of nonsense.

Ladymuck Tue 20-Nov-12 14:14:21

What sort of nonsense? If the caretaker was the only female adult in the school then presumably she would be the one called upon to help out the year 6 girls? Though as the person most familiar with the school sanitation system, may also be the most qualified grin.

Lifeissweet Tue 20-Nov-12 14:29:28

I have to agree that I find the whole attitude to male primary school teachers a bit...irritating.

In my experience, they are not discriminated against at all - in fact most of the reactions on here are the ones I hear most often about male teachers - i.e. 'They are wonderful role models', 'They can inspire the boys', 'They are better at discipline'...etc.

The male teachers I have worked with (and male TAs - we have 2 of those currently as well as 3 male learning mentors) have been the same mixed bag as the women - some people are better teachers than others. The best sports teachers on our (mixed) staff are women. The two with the best reputation for discipline are women. Being male or female means absolutely nothing.

Yes, I do agree that we need more male role models in schools- I don't dispute that at all, but that is about recruiting more men to train as TAs and teachers and then employing the best ones in schools. Then maybe some of these assumptions of male teachers vs female teachers will go away. It's a non-issue.

Lifeissweet Tue 20-Nov-12 14:33:24

When I say there's no discrimination, I mean in terms of employment. I am, however, horrified at the suggestion that men can't help children change. Eh?

In my year 5 class, the girls and boys are separated for PE and, as I am on my own when they change, one group changes in the cloakroom and the other in the classroom. Sometimes the boys are the ones with me in the classroom because there are a few colourful characters who can't be trusted without adult supervision in the cloakroom. Should I be banned from doing that?! Am I a risk to anyone?

Lifeissweet Tue 20-Nov-12 14:38:18

I also think that male teachers are capable of sensitively and sensibly dealing with periods without actually having experience of it themselves. If they can't then I would worry about their suitability to teach given that a lot of the job involves empathy and understanding. It might be a good thing that girls talk to men about these things and realise that they are not secret female things, but a part of life that men are perfectly capable of handling.

owlelf Tue 20-Nov-12 18:31:32

I totally agree with you lifeissweet

Catsnotrats Tue 20-Nov-12 20:47:06

Seconded lifeissweet.

I work in a school with a significant (although still minority) number of male staff at all levels, from the head to the cleaners. I've seen the good, bad and the ugly from them just as much as I have from female teachers. In fact the two worst examples of teachers I have encountered have been male, and a large part of their issues was the arrogance that just because they were male they were somehow better at the job.

Interestingly this morning on bbc breakfast they raised this subject, and interviewed a young male teacher and an older male deputy. The deputy was fine, however I did find myself shouting at the TV when the young guy said that boys responded better to his discipline than to any of their other female teachers. I'd be interested to see what he is actually like on the job.

Catsnotrats Tue 20-Nov-12 20:49:14

Oh and the period thing. My two year 5&6 male colleagues are perfectly happy talking and supporting this issue. One has two teenage daughters, the other is a raging feminist (his words!). I don't think it would cross their minds that they shouldn't deal with it.

socharlotte Tue 20-Nov-12 22:09:05

Oh and the period thing. My two year 5&6 male colleagues are perfectly happy talking and supporting this issue

It's not a question of whether the teachers are happy , it's a question of whether the girls are comfortable with this arrangement.

socharlotte Tue 20-Nov-12 22:10:45

The law is that you have to appoint the best candidate.End of.

(btw I don' like the use of the term 'lady teacher' very much either)

ninah Tue 20-Nov-12 22:13:37

I'd really love it if women went into a traditionally male industry and were greeted with a similarly effusive and uncritical welcome
Agree with all those who say it should be the best PERSON for the job
Now, what kind of dick shall I grow for tomorrow's Maths hmm

gabsid Sat 01-Dec-12 11:13:16

I think this would be good for a lot of the boys, as they are often left behind a bit by the fact that they are not quite mature enough and a lack of role models with an often all female staff.

Goofygoober79 Mon 10-Dec-12 10:55:35

I'm a female teacher, but being gay I'm not the kind of girly teacher who is so often portrayed as being dominant in our Primary schools (untrue, as there is a mix of all sorts of women and men). I do feel a lot of the time that it's hard to 'fit in', which presumably men feel too (unless they are gay :D).
Boys respond to me well, but then again so do the girls, which leads me to think that actually it's the TEACHER, not the gender, that is important.
I've worked in a lot of schools, with many different male teachers. Some are excellent - and then get recognised and moved up the ladder far more quickly than equally competent females, but that's another issue. But a LOT of male teachers I've worked with have been lazy, arrogant, messy, disorganised, badly-prepared, and expect their (female) colleagues to do e.g. the photocopying, get the stuff ready, tidy their classrooms and tell them what they're supposed to be doing. Yes, the kids love them - that doesn't make them the best teacher!
When working on supply, I caught a male teacher telling a few girls to tidy out the boys' trays as 'they were too busy with football training'! He looked very sheepish when I glared at him smile
Being in a same-sex female partnership, I would love our children to have a positive male role model - but not at the expense of good teaching. If the man is the best candidate, then great, but if not, then hire the more able female. I've known female teachers who have walked out of interviews because there was a male candidate and, having lost out many many times to men, feel that it is pointless staying in the process. That's a bit dramatic I think (I got my job over a male candidate) but illustrates that whilst men are a minority in Primary teaching, those that are there can either be lazy and keep their jobs or be average and rise to the top!

This post was aimed at the people who were singing the praises of male teachers, rather than the OP who was wondering whether it would be good to have an all-male teaching staff. I neither agree nor disagree with an all-male staff. It depends on whether or not they are good teachers - and a Governor is not always the best person to judge!

BieneMaja Mon 10-Dec-12 22:52:40

I love that DDs TA is male in fact I just love him full stop the only drawback is that I am in love with have a silly girls crush on him confused

Hobbitation Mon 17-Dec-12 16:20:25

DD's school has more male teachers and TAs than mine did in the 80s. Three class teachers and two TAs. We had only one class teacher and the head at my school.

Also the nursery is run by man, who also works in it, and there is another nursery teacher who is a young lad. So about 25% of the staff there.

alanyoung Tue 08-Jan-13 20:46:53

Unfortunately too many children these days come from broken homes and in my experience more are placed with the mother than with the father. This means that in primary schools where the majority of teachers are female, children can spend their whole life entirely in female adult company which can't be healthy, whether they are boys or girls. Having more male teachers will tend to even out the experiences of these particular children and that can only be good for them, by and large.

Elibean Tue 08-Jan-13 22:44:53

We have an almost equal number of men and women teaching at the dds' primary now - which I think is brilliant!

Pooka Tue 08-Jan-13 22:50:53

Same here Elibean! grin

While I think recruitment should be based on merit, I've always been pleased when it has so happened that the best candidate has been a bloke. I have two sons and a daughter and I do like the fact that they all have had/will have a mix of male and female teachers because it reflects real life. Also ds currently has a man/woman job share so he gets a real mix. Best of both worlds.

MumVsKids Tue 08-Jan-13 22:54:02

The best teacher by far at DDs primary is the NQT male who started 3 years ago.

He's fresh, funny, brilliant with the kids, and a really positive male role model.

he's also nice eye candy on the playground of a morning wink

realcoalfire Wed 09-Jan-13 11:39:44

At my DNs primary school they have had to make arrangements with the LEA to second a maler teacher from another school for the Y6 residential trip. He is a secondary school teacher who is also a parent of one of the pupils at the primary)

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