Teaching is one of the most popular and noble professions worldwide. This is a fact that will always win the most votes in any debate but the profession itself has some negative stigma surrounding it.
Albert Einstein once said, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”. This sentiment fully defines the job or role of a teacher.
A teacher’s job is to make the world a better place by educating future generations in all sorts of knowledge.
Unlike most professions, entering into the teaching field means your interest lies purely in improving the world as opposed to making the most profit.
The teaching profession may, in most likelihood not make you the richest person on the planet but as a result of modern technology, some teachers are turning this around.
Through the sale of online courses, lesson plans, worksheets, and other teaching resources, some teachers are making millions and living very comfortable lives.
The profession may have its cons but also comes with some advantages some other professions are not privy to.
A typical example is, the fact that most teachers across the globe are not mandated to put on uniforms at work. This is unlike some professional bodies that mandate employees to adhere to wearing a specific attire.
While performing academic research on teaching, I came across some very intriguing information, including the fact that the majority of teachers are women.
I decided to do some additional research to better understand why the profession did not attract more males in our modern age.
A Brief History Of Gender In Teaching
Although it may be surprising, teaching was once considered a male-only profession. These were times when learner age restrictions were strictly enforced.
Before the mid-19th century, teaching was a male-only role. While boys were given an education, girls were taught to take care of household chores.
This left a huge divide making it close to impossible for women to enter the academic field especially since they had no formal training, to begin with.
With the rise of industrialization, men started branching into other fields including business, manufacturing, and more.
Taking advantage of this and the need for personnel to fill in the gaps, educators decided that women were natural teachers, and more suited to teach grade school than men.
Women were economically vulnerable as a result of their limited employment options, so teaching meant they could become economically independent, for the first time.
This meant a huge influx of women into the teaching profession. By the mid-19th century, school districts started ushering young white women into the teaching profession in large numbers.
Consequently, women made up the majority of teachers, and within a few decades, teaching younger children began to be seen as a female-only role by 1990.
Cultural and political shifts in the mid-20th century, however, led to women seeking additional employment in traditionally masculine roles.
This then resulted in some level of increase in the percentage of men in the education field, although to a lesser extent than with women.
In our modern world, K-12 classrooms are mostly populated with female teachers and various factors deter most men from teaching at these levels.
Advantages Of Male Teachers
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Serve As Father Figures And Role Models
Good male teachers serve as father figures to some learners especially those coming from broken homes.
In our busy world, some fathers in the traditional sense are mostly occupied, trying to make it up the corporate ladder and provide for their families.
This means some kids hardly get to spend time with their fathers and in some cases see them at all.
Having a male teacher in school, especially in the early development of the child gives them a father figure and a role model to look up to.
Easier Student Behavior Control
Male teachers are able to better control any bad behavior from students in class.
The larger size and deeper voice, make a male teacher appear more imposing and play a key role in this regard.
This doesn’t mean female teachers are unable to control student behavior but simply that the male presence serves to deter bad behavior in some learners.
Although children spend part of their time at home, their minds are conditioned to learn the most in schools.
This is because schools are created with student learning in mind and that’s what students go there to do.
Homes are usually meant for informal learning, playing, and other things, except in the case of homeschooling.
Having a male presence at school at an early age will enable children to learn from the diverse experiences of both female and male teachers.
Most learners can relate better to teachers of the same gender and some claim lessons administered by teachers of that gender were easier to understand.
Encourages Male Students To Be Teachers
Having male teachers in classrooms will encourage more male students to venture into teaching as a profession.
If only female teachers are present in our schools, male and female students begin to get the impression that teaching is a female-only profession.
Even if the male student has a passion for the profession, entering a profession with that kind of stigma leads to mockery from family, friends, and society as a whole.
This is why male teachers in the classroom will encourage more male students to become teachers.
Disadvantages Of Male Teachers
1. Not Considered A Manly Profession
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Working with kids is no macho job.
Unlike engineering, military, and some less macho, but still average, with respect to masculinity in our modern world roles like software development, chef, producers, directors, and more, being a male teacher doesn’t seem fashionable anymore.
This is especially true for male teachers at the K-12 levels of education, which is also one of the reasons most teachers at that level tend to be female.
2. Negative Impressions
Most teachers are scared of insinuations that they are in the teaching profession for the wrong reasons and that they are a threat to children.
In our modern society, simply putting your hands on a child as a man gets you treated like a pedophile.
Males are just as passionate about teaching as females, but our current world makes it difficult for a male to go into the profession, simply out of fear of ruining his life if someone mistakes a situation for something else.
At a girls school, a male teacher can’t be in the classroom by himself with another student.
There has to be someone else present as a precautionary measure. This creates the atmosphere that male teachers cannot be trusted.
Male teachers are faced with the dilemma, “why should I go into a profession where my integrity is questioned?”
4. Low Relative Pay
Teaching is a demanding profession just as much as some of the most demanding professions but teachers are paid relatively low compared to others.
We all wouldn’t be where we are without our teachers, but our teachers are not treated fairly in terms of remuneration.
Making ends meet becomes difficult for teachers without an additional source of income.
Thanks to modern technology, teachers are now able to leverage the power of the internet to sell online courses, printables, lesson plans, and many more to supplement their incomes.
5. Low Barrier To Entry
Teaching is not seen as a respectable profession unlike jobs like lawyers, doctors, and many more.
It’s not considered a prestigious profession. In most countries, teaching is easy to get into and is simply seen as a fallback career for anyone who ends up unable to find a better job.
6. Little External Motivation
While most professions have performance-based pay, teachers in most countries don’t have that option.
Teachers work as hard as other professions but receive little to no recognition for the effort they put into raising the next generation of leaders.
Working hard doesn’t mean you get any recognition for the job well done. You simply get the same salary you’ve been taking this whole time.
7. Parent And Guardian Concerns
Parents have concerns in some cases over why a male teacher without his own kids would want to be around other kids.
Some parents fear that male teachers would try to take advantage of students sexually.
You may wonder why this doesn’t apply to female teachers but the reality is that there have been reports of some female teachers taking advantage of students.
Unfortunately, society sees male teachers as more of a threat in this regard than female teachers.
8. Fear Of False Accusations
Some male teachers walk on eggshells in school out of fear of false accusations from female students and sometimes other teachers.
In this age of spin, a simple false accusation from someone in a teaching setting would be enough to ruin a career, and that’s if you’re lucky.
Understandably most males would rather not take this risk. You’d think that “if teaching children as a male teacher is the problem, why not teach older students?”
Unfortunately, working with older students comes with an entirely different set of problems.
It means the possibility that some students may end up crushing on a male teacher. The situation becomes worse when these students try to act on these crushes.
Other times, some students looking to increase their grades may approach teachers, sexually in many ways, which could also go horribly wrong based on how the teacher approaches such a situation.
The Bottom Line
Teaching is a rewarding profession but comes with some challenges especially for male teachers at the K-12 levels.
Are you a teacher? What has your experience been? Do you love working with kids? Are you scared of pursuing that passion? Feel free to leave a comment below