Why Don’t Men Teach In Primary Schools?

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Jack Gulston

Jack writes for the Teacher Toolkit site from a primary perspective and is in his third year of teaching. He worked as a teaching assistant in a special needs school for 3 years before going on to complete his education degree. He is currently teaching...
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Why is the balance of male and female teachers so skewed?

My last post was negative about teaching and the comments I received from you all were fantastic; they reminded me to stay positive about the job I have and to keep going. I have reminded myself of the difference I have made to the children and staff I work with and looked back at my first blog for Teacher’s Toolkit. I reminded myself to think about myself for a change and to stay positive. I know it is only the first day/week back since a week break but I am feeling energised and positive about the coming terms ahead.

Positive Role Model

This got me thinking  – why don’t more men teach in primary schools? At my school there are 3 male teachers out of 14 and a PE sports teacher.

I got thinking about the environment I work in and cannot understand why men wouldn’t want to work in a primary school.

I know this is going back on what I wrote a couple of weeks ago, but I am being positive. At the school I work in, there are a lot of absent Dad’s and the need for strong male role models is needed. Showing children that men and women can enhance and benefit their lives is vital in a time when there is a lot of upheaval in the world around them.

They may have seen negative things going on at home by their Dad’s, so having a male in the classroom can benefit not only the boys but also the girls in the classroom.

Lots of 5-11 year old children are leaving to go to secondary school without ever having had a male teacher teach them for anything other than PE. Surely there should be a drive to get men into primary schools? Why is primary teaching such a female dominated environment?

A Man’s Place Is In The Classroom

I had always wanted to be a primary school teacher. When the work experience forms came round I put teaching straight away and was placed in a local special needs school (a different one that I ended up working in). It was fantastic and loved every moment of it. Whilst I was there, the only male on site was the caretaker.

It never even popped into my head that I shouldn’t want to do this because I am male, I just wanted to be inspirational and improve peoples lives. Cliche I know, but if that cord struck with me, then why didn’t it with my peers?

When speaking to my friends about being a teacher a few of them said that they didn’t enjoy school when they were younger and didn’t want to be in that environment again which I can understand. However, shouldn’t these be the people, that when they are younger we can appeal to them, so that they do not have a negative experience? Another of my friends felt that teachers are expected to do what parents should be doing at home, such as disciplining them, teaching them values and he felt that he didn’t have the correct temperament to deal with these issues.

My friends point about school not being for him really struck a chord with me. My teaching has been more enjoyable recently and have pushed myself to be even more enthusiastic and make my lessons even more entertaining.

During a recent careers day at our school, 3 boys in my class decided that they wanted to be like me. It was a proud teacher moment and one I took a photo of and stuck it on my wall in my classroom.

Hopefully, those 3 boys can carry on with that wish and aspire to be a primary school teachers. We need more men in our primary schools.

Lets get the message out there!

5 thoughts on “Why Don’t Men Teach In Primary Schools?

  1. At elementary school there are more female teachers, in averages – men. It’s because in elementary grades the child still needs care of mother, which during lessons only the woman can replace. And in the senior classes most of the western psychologists advise to hand over the reins in male hands.

    1. Offensive and possibly a troll. In what way can only female teachers replace maternal care? They don’t breast feed the children!

      And please name 3 western psychologists who advise males in later education.

  2. Money – teaching is an amazing second wage but main scale is not enough to provide for 3 children as main bread winner. That is why so many teachers move up the career ladder even if it isn’t what they want or the right thing for them. Would a good doctor with 10 years experience have to go into admin or take on massive extra responsibilities/time commitment to be able to earn enough to pay the mortgage for a 3 bed house?

    1. Teaching has been female dominated since second World War. Before this, it was male dominated.
      The sceptic in me says that teaching would have a far more competitive wage today had it always been ‘a male profession’. I think this because the men in parliament in the mid 20th century would have looked to make savings on the wages of the female dominated professions precisely because women have traditionally been the secondary earners.
      Excellent article.

  3. Interesting. At my junior school we have 8 class and 4 male teachers. A range of ages and responsibilities as well. Mind you the SLT is almost all women.

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