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No I don't think the new TA is 'wonderful' because he has an 'XY chromosome' [titled edited by MNHQ]

(116 Posts)
dayshiftdoris Sun 16-Mar-14 08:22:35

Just that really...

Son has a new TA at school and I am becoming increasingly.... bemused I think by the comments about why the other think it's the best thing that's ever happened to my son...

'Being a man it changes the dynamic'
'He has that, you know... male presence'

And my personal favourite so far...
'He has that strong authoritative male voice'

Now this TA is great but it's early days and everyone is great at this stage but I have never experienced such expression of positivity about previous female TAs from staff

All of the people saying it are women - sensible, intelligent women who clearly see absolutely nothing wrong with it as they gush (literally falling over their words) this at me in front of their head confused
Interestingly the head doesn't join in and does not catch my eye when this is being said smile
For what it's worth he's had male teachers previously (and we had similar gushing) and he's never been hugely bothered. The best relationship he has was with the tiniest, most petite female you ever did see smile

Am I wrong in thinking that this TA will be either good or not, based purely on his personality and his skills as a TA and not just because he has a penis?
Similarly a female's natural maternal attributes are irrelevant too

I am not angry about this - bemused is the right word. The biggest issue I have is that I am likely to say something 'witty' in response when they are deadly serious... smilewinksmilegrin
(Wouldn't be the first time)

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 08:30:29

Massive bugbear of mine and no! YANBU.

Wehired a male senior teacher a few years ago who charmed the parents, told them what they wanted to hear...he was physically imposing, liked sport, big deep voice, etc.
Apparently he was the best thing to happen to the school since XYZ.

What the parents didn't see is the shocking, and I mean shocking, lessons he was teaching, getting the kids to work on paper then binning it every day. Falsified test results, oh and he reported levels to parents which were wholly inaccurate. Caused us a massive amount of damage as a school.

Eventually he left in unpleasant circumstances but still some parents mourn the fact that this wonderful man was "bullied out" by us "wimmin."

Rauma Sun 16-Mar-14 08:31:14

Arguably they are being sexist or at least biast because they see the meat and veg first before his skills...

RestingActress Sun 16-Mar-14 08:31:59

Yanb at all u

MsMischief Sun 16-Mar-14 08:34:28

I had similar gushing when ds had a male teacher in Y2. He was a shit teacher and ds was really unhappy that year and lost a lot of confidence but now he's left (only lasted the year-contract not renewed) people say how lucky ds was to have that experience confused

Well, the penis is nog the only of main difference between men and women.

"Just because he has a penis" is such a dated angry way of describing a man ( is a man just like a woman, only with a penis? ).

Also, he may not have a penis. shock I mean, have you actually seen it? Maybe he is transgender , maybe he had an accident, maybe che chose to remove his penis.

Who knows.

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 08:38:20

God, also remembered another male teacher I worked with. Male, 40's, previous career in "industry." On first day announced his intention to be a head within five years. He had a tough class and simply didn't understand why they wouldn't do what he wanted them.

Oh and conversely (sorry, ranting) I worked with a brilliant male teacher, 23, NQT who happened to be gay and had a naturally more effeminate manner. Not a scrap of falseness, he was brilliant and very knowledgeable.
The amount of shit he got from parents was vile...some of it verging on outright homophobia from a couple in particular.

dayshiftdoris Sun 16-Mar-14 08:38:51

It feels very 'squirmy' when they are saying it - I thought it might be sexist too

Jon - at a previous school a male teacher joined and there was so much 'gushing' about it from staff and parents before he even got there that nearly staged a protest on behalf of some of the wonderful yet unrecognised female staff smile

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 08:43:43

Yes, dayshift that's infuriating!

dayshiftdoris Sun 16-Mar-14 08:43:46

True Fiscal but I haven't seen his class teachers vagina either and quite frankly I don't care what body parts they have...

The staff, most teaching staff, talking me about him are the ones focusing on his male attributes so without doing the same I opted for a tongue in cheek differentiation between men and women

However I nearly wrote 'XY chromosome' and although I don't know that I will ask MN to change it so to not cause offense

GertTheFlirt Sun 16-Mar-14 08:44:38

Despite there being so few male role models available to a lot of children, especially in their formative years in primary school you have an issue because other mother appreciate he might just be that? A positive role model?

Far too many children are brought up in female dominated households, where there has been no positive male influence for several generations. Schools are the same. It is always seen as something of an oddity if a man wants to teach primary.

12% of primary teachers are male, dropping to 8% in Scotland; there are only 48 male nursery teachers country wide.

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 08:49:32

But Gert it's incredibly frustrating to have a staff member universally lauded when they haven't yet proven themselves in their job...just because of their gender.
If the man in question was shit at his job and caused massive ructions within the school, can't you see how difficult it would be for female staff members to listen as people raved about his presence.
And the figures for male primary teachers are irrelevant. Men have as much opportunity to apply for teaching as women - they clearly choose not to.

dayshiftdoris Sun 16-Mar-14 08:54:04

Where did I say I thought a male teacher was odd?

I didn't and don't

I find the response to his maleness odd, bordering on sexist.

He will be a good TA and positive role model because he has good skills and guides the children well...
Whether he is male or female irrelevant...

Men are not automatically good role models, neither are women - it's down the person and how they work...

I absolutely agree that their should be more men in primary education but it makes you wonder if this attitude is not part of the reason they are not... Must be a bit like a woman being commented upon for her femaleness when they just pulled off a great piece of work

GertTheFlirt Sun 16-Mar-14 08:54:43

Men have as much opportunity to apply for teaching as women - they clearly choose not to.

I agree. But if it were reversed there would be a backlash and accusations of gender bias against women.

But for whatever the reason, the fact still stands, there are a lot of children who do not have positive male role models.

All threads like this do is reinforce the whole 'all men are bad' myth because of anecdotal stories. I know lots of lazy and inept female teachers and LSAs as well as male ones.

wintersrose Sun 16-Mar-14 08:58:03

The OP is quite right.

Unlike most of Mumsnet, I personally don't consider myself a 'feminist' as such: I am all for fairness and equality, but just the same I don't think I can claim to that title.

However I remember when I worked in schools and one particular form (year 8s) were playing up a lot. Someone said irritably 'what that class needs is a man!'

Try it with any other prejudice - 'what that class needs is someone white!' 'What that class needs is someone slim!' It just doesn't work and it does make me angry.

It is not the job of a school to make up for what a child may be lacking at home but to provide the best education possible to enable the child to address those lacking parts when he or she grows. A teacher or TA is not a child's father or mother and shouldn't be expected to make up that role.

It's all very well and good to praise the role someone does but it needs to be related to what it is they do.
'He is very calm yet authortative with the children,' is a statement that can apply to both genders (obviously by changing the pronoun at the start) for instance.

It's prejudice in its rawest form and is wrong. Someone's gender is not the deciding factor in how they do their job.

JosieMcDozie Sun 16-Mar-14 08:58:43

This not only happens in schools, I work in an office where the roles are predominantly taken by women. We've had a couple of males who have barely done an adequate job of the role, but are seen as the next coming because of their gender. I have absolutely no problem with a male doing this sort of role, but for them to be able to do an inadequate job of it compared to women who are doing a great job and get praised and promoted (by fawning middle aged women in management who don't actually see the incompetence) is beyond me.

There, that feels better grin

Mrskeylime Sun 16-Mar-14 08:59:26

I absolutely agree OP. A teacher or TA's skills should not be judged on their gender. Yes there is a lack of male TA'S/teachers in primary but that is because fewer apply for the role.

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 09:00:42

All threads like this do is reinforce the whole 'all men are bad' myth because of anecdotal stories
I posted my anecdotes to highlight the difference between parents' perception and reality. I also posted about a brilliant male teacher I know. I think most people are aware that there are good and bad teachers of either gender, but it seems unfair that men are on the whole more likely to be positively received into a job without having to prove themselves.
And the fact many children don't have positive role models should not enter the equation when appointing new staff, IMO.

CannyBagOfTudor Sun 16-Mar-14 09:01:02

Maybe they're just trying to go out of their way to prove their card-carrying non-paedophile-suspecting credentials like half of the people on MN do.

So they think they have to be REALLY enthusiastic so everyone knows how right-on they are.

YANBU, it would really piss me off. Especially the male voice = authoritative bit.

JonSnowKnowsNothing Sun 16-Mar-14 09:02:40

*positive MALE role models

Mrskeylime Sun 16-Mar-14 09:03:47

'Men have as much opportunity to apply for teaching as women - they clearly choose not to.

I agree. But if it were reversed there would be a backlash and accusations of gender bias against women. '


dayshiftdoris Sun 16-Mar-14 09:07:39

How do threads like 'this' reinforce an attitude that men are bad?

Most PEOPLE are decent, hard working and excellent at their jobs... Some of them work in education.

When our children come into contact with those people they respond well to them - they respond even more to them IF the person concerned fills a gap they have in their life... Be it someone caring, someone strong, someone who laughs, someone artistic, someone sporty... The list goes on

My favourite teacher ever was the one who encouraged me to read - I grew up in a house of non-readers... She taught me to widen my sphere of material and how to join & use a library.

MissPricklePants Sun 16-Mar-14 09:11:29

Total bugbear of mine! I'm a TA, I work hard, run several interventions and do planning etc for each session. I love my job and as I'm 1:1 the male TA works in the same class a couple of times a week. He has no authority, doesn't do what's needed in the class etc etc but as he is a man he is apparently amazing! Lots of the female staff feel the same way!

Carltondance Sun 16-Mar-14 09:12:19

yanbu. This is also a massive bugbear of mine. I currently work in a primary school where we do have quite a number of male teachers and TAs (I must me be in the only team in the country which is me and 3 male teachers with a male line manager as well) and I like it that way. However it's not because men make better teachers and TAs (we've had some real shockers over the years, as well as many brilliant ones, just like the female staff!) but because schools should reflect real life which means having a fairly balanced workforce.

Interestingly I've yet to have a male TA who would go that extra mile like some female TAs I know. I'm sure they're out there but I've had 3 over the years in my class and they all needed very strong direction and would never even think to do additional work outside of the classroom. But from this from very limited experience I can't generalise that all male TAs are lazy!

Cindy34 Sun 16-Mar-14 09:15:56

Wonder how many of those women would have a male nanny or babysitter? If they think men are so wonderful, are they actively having men in their own child's life, even the child's own father?

Everyone has to prove they are good at their job, gender should make no difference. People need to see past gender, colour, race. It's not who you are, it's what you do.

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