Push for more male teachers fails to increase numbers

False accusations against male teachers by female students have been badly handled in the past and few potential male teachers would be unaware of that. Being a male teacher is simply risky. Feminist demands to "believe the woman" are a part of that problem.

And it's a pity. My son had male mathematics teachers in his private High School and it inspired him to major in mathematics for his B.Sc.

Indemnifying male teachers against all the costs of false accusations might help

There has been no increase in the number of male teachers in public school classrooms, despite a push by the NSW Department of Education targeting them for recruitment into the profession more than four years ago.

Education experts said boys and girls benefit from more male teachers in schools because they were less likely to have stereotypical views about traditional gender roles, but recruiting men into a female-dominated field where teacher pay tops out after about 10 years is difficult.

The proportion of males employed in the public school system remained stagnant over the past four years, falling slightly from 23 per cent in 2018 to 22 per cent last year, according to the latest Department of Education data.

Numbers were steady despite the department’s diversity and inclusion strategy 2018-2022 which included an “obligation to address the gender imbalance in our teaching population, attracting and retaining more male teachers”.

The department’s latest move to draw more men into the profession was to use male teachers in social media advertisements and deploy them at careers fairs.

“High school careers advisers are also encouraged to promote work experience placements in government schools to male students,” a department spokesman said.

Data from the Universities Admissions Centre shows just 210 graduating year 12 schoolboys put primary school teaching as their first preference for university study this year.

That figure, which does not include students who applied directly to universities, is a 24 per cent decrease on the year before and is the lowest number recorded in the past seven years.

Schools across all sectors are grappling with chronic teacher shortages, with the federal government projecting a shortage of more than 4000 secondary school teachers by 2025. A national plan to address the shortage was released last month.

Independent researcher Dr Kevin McGrath, who has investigated the gender composition of the teaching workforce in Australia, said the pandemic and a workforce shortage had made it harder to attract and retain male teachers.

“Men benefit from a broad range of occupational choice in Australia which provides opportunities to avoid particular types of work and to seek out employment that provides more flexibility,” McGrath said.

Salaries for NSW teachers start at $73,737, and hit a maximum of $117,060 if they are accredited as a “highly accomplished” or “lead” teacher. Pay jumps to $126,528 if they take on more responsibilities and become an assistant principal.

“Male teachers face a greater opportunity cost for choosing a female-dominated profession, compounded by potential negative perceptions or ridicule for doing work performed predominantly by women,” McGrath said.

Research indicated that in schools with fewer male teachers, students tended to hold more stereotypical views of gender than in schools where male and female teachers were equally represented, he said.

University of Tasmania school of education lecturer Dr Vaughan Cruickshank said male teachers worked in a predominantly female environment and could struggle to find common interests with their female peers. He also said salary, low professional status, as well as fear and uncertainty about physical contact put men off becoming teachers.

A breakdown of the proportion of male teachers in primary and secondary schools for 2022 is not yet available, but last year men constituted 18 per cent of primary school teachers and 40 per cent of the teaching workforce in high school.

Private schools fare no better when it comes to attracting men, where male teachers made up 20 per cent of primary school teachers and 40 per cent of secondary school teachers.

“The percentage of male teachers in NSW independent schools has not changed significantly in recent years,” Association of Independent Schools of NSW chief executive Margery Evans said.


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