benefit of having more male teachers

Wanted: More Male Teachers. Lots More.

Dear Mr. Dad: My twins (one boy, one girl), are starting fourth grade in the fall and we just found out that their teacher is a woman. That isn’t a problem, of course, but when my wife and I started talking about this, we realized that the twins have never had a male teacher, and that our older kids—one in middle school, one in high school—didn’t have male teachers until they were in 7th grade. Looking even further back, neither my wife nor I had a male teacher until high school. Why are there so few men teaching in elementary schools? And are our kids being hurt by the lack of adult male role models?

A: Great questions. The gender gap in education is thriving, and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. 97.5% of preschool and kindergarten teachers are women, as are 78.5% of elementary school teachers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

There are a few factors that contribute to the absence of male teachers, most of which are the result of overt sexism. Teaching—especially in primary schools—is notoriously low paying. And since we still put a huge amount of pressure on men to be the primary breadwinner (even a majority of supposedly open-minded Millennials agree with that 50s-era sentiment), men are less likely than women to look at teaching as a viable career option. Worse still, a number of studies have found that male elementary school teachers (and those who consider teaching) are made to feel un-masculine. Others are afraid of being perceived as pedophiles, particularly if they were to touch a child. And of course, there’s something of a vicious circle, where boys, most of whom rarely ever have a male teacher, eventually come to see teaching as something that’s done by women. Not surprisingly, that makes them less likely to want to become teachers themselves than pursue some other career in which they’ve seen men succeed and make a difference.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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