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Too few male teachers in primary schools?

(181 Posts)
edupak Mon 22-Jun-15 16:49:10

I'm interested in parents' views concerning what I rightly or wrongly perceive as the ongoing feminisation of staffing in primary schools. Most state primary schools seem unable to attract a balanced mix of male and female staff. Is this necessarily an issue? Several friends have told me that they would prefer their boys to have a mix of male and female role models/teachers. Would be great to hear other views/experiences...

AliMonkey Mon 22-Jun-15 16:56:06

I agree. Many primary schools don't seem to have any male teachers at all (or only male is the head). Ours does - two out of 14 classes (was three for a short time). DD has had male teacher for last two years and DS currently has one and I think it's great for both of them. Also less disruption due to maternity leave (although shared leave may change that of course!)

CtrlAltDelicious Mon 22-Jun-15 16:56:25

ow this really bugs me. Men have exactly the same opportunities to become Primary teachers as women. It is their choice entirely.
I have worked with some truly excellent male teachers. I have also worked with
a) incompetent male teachers who came to teaching late in life and announced to the staffroom they were intending to become a head in five years.
b) Good male teachers who wanted to climb the ladder quickly by gaining deputy/headship posts, meaning they were no longer in the classroom having a direct impact on the children.
c) Arrogant male students who claimed complete confidence they were going to obtain a post immediately as they were male.

I work in an extremely deprived area in the North East and yes, we'd love more male teachers. But you can only appoint from the people available and for whatever reason, many men do not see primary teaching for them.

ltk Mon 22-Jun-15 16:59:13

OP, as a parent, why do you think there are so few male primary teachers? What would you like to do to change the situation?

SunnySomer Mon 22-Jun-15 16:59:35

Our primary has an unusually high number of men (3 TAs, 5 teachers, and normally 2-3 male students annually in a two-class intake school) which is really positive. I do think it's an issue to only have female teachers as it implies that only women do nurturing roles (teaching Foundation Stage), or support roles (TAs), research also suggests that people often place a higher value on characteristics they recognise in themselves - and eg ability to sit quietly, work "nicely", write neatly etc, which are often more evident in girls, are praised by female teachers which can lead to boys becoming disaffected.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Mon 22-Jun-15 17:03:39

I think it's really hard for male teachers and the horror stories put them off.

One friend had his social media stalked and was accused of peadophilia. (They had created a fake profile and found him. He does fashion modelling under a pseudonym.)

Thankfully it didn't stick but his reputation was in tatters. He was devastated and is now unsure whether he wants to continue teaching.

ltk Mon 22-Jun-15 17:04:44

I guarantee that teachers of both genders value the ability to sit nicely and get on with work. Anything less will have a teacher failing observation. Ofsted's cracking down on low level disruption, innit?

CtrlAltDelicious Mon 22-Jun-15 17:09:00

I guarantee that teachers of both genders value the ability to sit nicely and get on with work. Anything less will have a teacher failing observation. Ofsted's cracking down on low level disruption, innit?

Absolutely. There are also many outstanding female teachers who value and model those skills I'm guessing people see as more "male," such as innovation, problem solving, persistence, etc.

soapboxqueen Mon 22-Jun-15 17:13:47

I think the issue is that few men are attracted to teaching and when they are they tend to be focused on higher she groups and more masculine roles eg leadership and difficult children. Which means your average mainstream primary doesn't get a look in.

My ds attends a primary placement for children with behaviour issues and about a third of the staff are male.

mrz Mon 22-Jun-15 17:15:31

Historically primary teaching had been dominated by females yet lack of role models was never raised as an issue perhaps it's as much to do with lack of male role models in the home as in the school?

The school where I teach has 46% male teachers ...

As a female teacher I much prefer children with a "spark" about them and love boy heavy classes full of lively characters ... And I was the shy quiet girl right through school.

edupak Mon 22-Jun-15 17:56:31

Thanks everyone. Incredibly insightful. I think we shall look for a balanced staffroom when the time comes. I can't bear the thought of our Ds, who is typically boyish, becoming disaffected because he does not sit down and get on with his play/work as quietly as the girls who may thus monopolise the teachers' praise. He will need some male staff we feel who may have more inbuilt empathy for boys who like to charge around/break things etc

CtrlAltDelicious Mon 22-Jun-15 17:59:34

I can't bear the thought of our Ds, who is typically boyish, becoming disaffected because he does not sit down and get on with his play/work as quietly as the girls who may thus monopolise the teachers' praise.

Did you actually read the posts from teachers who said this isn't the case? confused

He will need some male staff we feel who may have more inbuilt empathy for boys who like to charge around/break things etc

You will struggle to find a teacher of any gender who will allow your son to "charge around and break things."

Either way, good luck in your search.

mrz Mon 22-Jun-15 18:05:16

I know far more male teachers who favour the quiet golden haired
girls in their class

soapboxqueen Mon 22-Jun-15 18:11:35

I agree with pp. The sex of the teacher has nothing to do with their propensity for classroom breakages or empathy towards boys.

ltk Mon 22-Jun-15 18:18:01

Good on ya, OP. Never let the facts stand in the way of your pre-conceived notions.

Galena Mon 22-Jun-15 18:41:34

I have known male teachers who aren't terribly good at their jobs, but are arrogant because often they walk into the first job they apply for (I was employed at my second application for a particular school and was told in not so many words that the previous time I'd missed out because they wanted a male teacher). I know of another male teacher, an NQT who struggled to take direction from the female head.

I also know of many, many female teachers who are able to enthuse and empathise with the boys they teach.

I don't know of many teachers who are happy for the children (of any gender) to charge around and break things.

BackforGood Mon 22-Jun-15 19:31:42

I think we shall look for a balanced staffroom when the time comes. I can't bear the thought of our Ds, who is typically boyish, becoming disaffected because he does not sit down and get on with his play/work as quietly as the girls who may thus monopolise the teachers' praise. He will need some male staff we feel who may have more inbuilt empathy for boys who like to charge around/break things etc

How incredibly rude and insulting to all teachers.

As Itk has said - don't let actual facts get in the way of your pre-conceived notions though, will you hmm

TheTroubleWithAngels Mon 22-Jun-15 20:01:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cumbrae Mon 22-Jun-15 20:12:14

OP I'm afraid I have some issues with your posts.

You use of 'feminisation' seems to imply that things used to be different? I was at primary school 35 years ago and we had one male teacher (the head). My DCs school has three male teachers currently.

I have a very physical, sporty, lively wee boy. In school he sits down nicely and behaved himself as per the rules of the class.

The gender of his teacher has no impact on the rules and in fact he tells me that his male teacher has far less patience for any kind of nonsense that his female teacher.

I agree that it's a good thing to have a mix of teachers if possible but personally I'm more interested in their teaching ability than their gender.

You might do better to focus on teaching your child some 'sitting and listening' skills.

My DS is very well behaved in school but needs about an hour of running around the park after school to burn off some energy.

AsBrightAsAJewel Mon 22-Jun-15 20:14:27

We have few male teachers and every recruitment round we say "It would great to appoint a man". But at the end of the process we have to decide to appoint the "average" (or worse) male applicant to balance the genders or the outstanding female applicant? Are you saying OP you are happy for us to recruit the weaker teacher just because of his gender?

AdventureBe Mon 22-Jun-15 20:24:06

Good luck with finding that "balanced" staff room. It doesn't exist, if you mean equal mix for male and female teachers.

I agree boys and girls do need different things from school. The female head at our Infant School has made understanding and putting this into practise her life's work. She absolutely understands that boys don't usually suit a sit still and listen environment.

I also agree, it would be better if there were more men in schools or involved with young children generally - there's another thread running here which shows well why they might choose not to though!

We currently only have one male teacher, teaching yr4, he's leaving at the end of term to run a dog grooming business because he is a truly awful teacher. No doubt you'd have been happy for your DS to be in his class though OP?

It bothers me a great deal that even with so few mean teaching in primary schools, the percentage of men in leadership posts is still high. There are plenty of opportunities for men to teach, if they want to.

Starlightbright1 Mon 22-Jun-15 20:24:35

As a LP.. I would like my DS to have a male teacher at least once during primary as I think for him it would do him the world of good. In infants I don't think it particulary made a jot of difference. He had 2 fantastic female teachers , one awful .. I would sooner though he had a fantastic female teacher then an awful male teacher.

In juniors they are starting to look for role models.

I am not sure how old your boys are but no boys are allowed to behave like that in school. but also remember as they get older they do have more ability to sit, and inspiring teacher can easily control a class male or female...As for empthy.. It is a very long time since I was a little girl and not sure I have anymore empathy for a girl than a boy

chaiselounger Mon 22-Jun-15 20:29:02

Only 1. Saddens me.

QuiteQuietly Mon 22-Jun-15 20:46:45

I think teaching has become perceived as "low status", so men are less attracted to it and many of those who are in primary teaching are trying to fast-track to leadership. But also paedophilia-suspicion has got out of hand and men are drifting out of all sorts of youth-work roles. We were discussing this at Cubs the other night. 10 years ago our local Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers all had two male uniformed leaders each, plus mixed helpers. Now all the leaders are female and all the helpers are female except from one man in explorers. The men have left for a variety of reasons, but new male recruits are not attracted to the role at all. Two local churches have youth pastors - both are female. Sunday school teachers - no one could think of a male one in our town. Local kids' football is apparently half men, half women. Only rugby has a mainly male child-facing staff/volunteers.

I want to see the best person for the job in the job and the world is full of capable women, but it is a weird message we are sending our children that low status, volunteering and caring roles are for women while the dynamic menfolk are off doing something important instead (like being head or earning proper (not pin) money). And lots of boys now are living in a very female world. Not healthy imho.

Theknacktoflying Mon 22-Jun-15 20:53:51

I think that school doesn't take into account gender differences
I woukd love for our primary school to have so e more male input - the only males are stereotypical sports coach from outside, the headmaster, the caretaker and IT man. All other relevant positions are he,d by women.
The school has had a few male students and a father doing the conversion in the time that I have had children at the school - no-one offered a perm job.

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