Education Male Teachers


The Lack of Male Teachers

By Daniel Muniz

Back in my college days, I remember meeting female education majors who were downright hostile to men becoming elementary school teachers. One acquaintance even told me that other than mopping the floors or cutting the grass, men have no business being in an elementary school.

And men themselves have their own negative perceptions about teaching such as the educators not being masculine enough, poor salaries, isolation from being in a female dominated field to an apprehension from the public. In addition, other issues such as teachers losing more control of the classroom or schools becoming too “politically correct” or too politicized instead of focusing on education have added fuel to the fire.

As a result, the numbers of male teachers are astonishingly low. According to the teacher’s union, The National Education Association, out of three million teachers, only 21 percent are male and when elementary schools are taken into account, that percentage plummets to only 9 percent.

However, I have met men who still enjoy teaching, especially in the primary school environment.

One particular male elementary teacher who told me that he felt that most of the female teachers appreciated his presence in the school he taught at. After serving in the first Gulf War, this veteran was searching for a totally different career path and was eventually drawn to teaching. He explained that in the classroom, some kids do not have a father figure or any positive male role models in their lives thus teaching allowed him to make a totally separate impact on the lives of certain students. And his female co-workers also appreciated the kind of balance his participation bought into the school.

To help end this disparity and lower some of the misconceptions, organizations like the national nonprofit MenTeach, founded in 1979 by Bryan Nelson, is committed to increasing the number of men teaching young children in early and elementary education.

Stated in their goals:

● Communicate
Educate society about the importance of men working with children.
● Recruit
Recruit more men to early and elementary education.
● Retain and Support
Encourage and support those men already working to be able to continue to work with children.
● Facts about Men Teaching
Provide statistics about men teaching in early and elementary education
According to their web site, MenTeach:

“serves as a clearinghouse for research, education and advocacy with a commitment to increase the number of men teaching young children in early and elementary education. Our supporters include those who believe that children need both men and women working together in a nurturing, care giving and teaching role.”
Overall, education needs more men in it especially at the primary level.

Organizations like MenTeach can do much to influence men to enter the teaching field but ultimately the biggest change has to come from society itself. In general, attitudes have to change, and in particular, attitudes in female teachers have to change as well so that those male educators aren’t plunged into isolation when they do enter the field.