An academic believes research needs to be carried out into why men are shying away from becoming teachers.
Fewer than 10 per cent of the early childhood and primary school teachers graduated at a recent ceremony at Massey University.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of Massey's College of Education James Chapman said there is a lot of speculation about why men are not getting into teaching.
This forum debate has now closed. Here is a selection of your views on the topic.
As a male primary school teacher working mainly in the junior school, I'd say I agree with most of the comments left here by others, to varying degrees. Certainly there IS room for improvement on making teaching more attractive to males. Having said that though, I have no significant complaints. Before becoming a primary school teacher, I worked in finance. Becoming a teacher actually meant less paperwork I had to deal with, incredible holidays, a pay scheme that increased decently at regular intervals, constant professional development, working with people (kids/staff/parents/community) that I actually really wanted to interact with, making a difference in other people's worlds, the ability to move to wherever I wanted (just about every village/town/city will have a school!) and never be bored. In the staffroom surrounded by women, I always feel unique and very appreciated, never an outcast.Seriously, how many jobs are out there where you can see the sun shining outside on a beautiful day and say, "Right! Let's leave our writing for a while and go outside to play a game!" while still getting paid for it?!? At least for me, the benefits of teaching far outweigh the negatives.
Hi, I am 22 and I love being with kids I would love to become an early childhood teacher but there is no point as all the single mothers out there think I will molest there children which is so not true I am a decent guy who loves kids I would never hurt them but there is no way I can enter teaching while this stigma is around
I'm a NZer and was a teacher in NZ for many years. I'm also one of the lucky ones because I managed to get out of the system but continue to teach - I moved overseas! I work in Asia. I am very well paid and my load is very manageable. I am respected and appreciated for the work I do. I have thought about returning to NZ but will not probably do so. According to the Teacher Reg. Council my efforts overseas are of no value towards the upkeep of my registration. Having been away 5 years I am no longer eligible for renewal of my registration. Apart from the fact that when I left NZ I was in the top salary scale, had solid experience, and since being away I've added to my qualifications, gained more experience and consider myself to be a better teacher; I would have to seek employment alongside new graduates and go through the teacher registration process all over again. No thanks I think I'll stay where I'm respected and teach the children of people who value and appreciate my ability to teach.My advice to NZers wanting to be teachers and ... get your qualifications and some experience, then head overseas!
The reason for fewer and fewer men in early education is simple. For over a decade now, men have been viewed child molesters in waiting. Take for example the Peter Ellis abomination. When an upset child comes to a male teacher, what can that man do? Give the child a hug? Put his arm over their shoulder and comfort them? No. To protect himself against spurious accusations, he has to stand at arms length with hands in pockets, door open so everyone can see. So that he is not seen as "poisoning the child's mind" by giving advice that may be deemed "religious" or "inappropriate" he says nothing. We have become a bunch of soft, pc correct idiots and it is affecting our children detrimentally. With the number of fatherless families in this country, it is more important than ever to have good male teachers as positive role models. Unfortunately the lesbian elite is ensuring that this will never happen.
Vish from Auckland
What is the problem if there are more women than men in the teaching profession ? The important thing is that the person should be capable, should be able to inspire students, make learning an enjoyable experience, person of Integrity.There are many professions where women are under represented. Men and women are different in many ways, and certain pursuits suit men more and vice versa, which is quite natural. If not why do we have males and females in this world? Do we want Unisex human beings ?. Men and women complement each other, also are able to supplement each other, in many areas. Does that mean that we must have 50 per cent of each in all areas ?
Have you ever considered that women are better and smarter teachers than men?
I have my suspicions that there's a deliberate connection between the feminism of our education system and the lack of male teachers. It seems from the mid 1970s onwards it's been on the feminist agenda to deplete our schools of men altogether so the female teachers can have full control of the pupils, and the best way to do this is to make the situation as uncomfortable as possible for male teachers by way of holding the threat of sexual abuse over them. Also feminising the curriculum seems to be another trait. An example of this is to only promote literature by female writers whose work centres mainly on female characters ... Bronte sisters, Austen, Mansfield, Frame to name a few ... at the expense of some great male writers such as Dumas, Defoe, Kingsley, Dickens, Stevenson, Steinbeck, Hemmingway etc. I doubt these authors are read at all in our secondary schools these days. Quite pathetic really! This feminist trend does not work in the best interests of the students, because they are not receiving a balanced perspective overall.
Commentor Comment Here
No male would feel safe being a school teacher as it is too easy for someone to accuse them of sexual misconduct.Also it appears that schools are dominated by women and geared towards the female side which is passive.
They need research to figure this out?! It is widely recognized among most individuals involved with teaching that the Peter Ellis case and the resulting paedophilia paranoia is the primary reason that men are shying away from teaching in primary school and early childhood - and who can blame them...the risk of misinterpretation and knee-jerk reactions by parents and 'concerned others' when seen alone with a child, comforting an injured child or helping a young person in the swimming pool it just too high - it is bad enough for female teachers!
Teachers should be the stars in our children's dreaming skies. and should be rewarded as such. equality is often heard, rarely seen. Why not move forward? Go back to treating genders equally. Without great teachers of both genders there is literally no future. our children's growing lack of faith in the world and the great things it has to share is another sign of the times. Rise in violence, growing gap between rich and poor, subtle pervasion of racism, sexism & ageism. Can't we see each other for what we are - different and yet similar for a reason. Seems there's no shelter from irrational opinions. Anytime, anywhere, you can be heckled about "who you are" or "what you're doing" as if was painted in the sky. They only know how you look, and what they think. Reality check please! To each their own opinion, but many seem to lose focus of the gap between opinion and reality. Help everyone of us, not just you. The very best of intentions! It's time for every person in this country, regardless, to take responsibility for ourselves, our children, country, world and where it's going. Without everyone of us helping us to make a better place, this is but a glimpse of the darkening future.
Low pay is one of the factors. I am sure many more men would consider teaching if the income could support their families but it is a sad fact that increasingly it cannot. Also there is little to admire in much of what is being taught today. Any man would support a cause they believe in
Secondary teacher in NZ
Teaching is a demanding job, which requires you to keep track of several tasks on the go at once. Even when you're sick you still have to do some work for the reliever. No-one will give you a pat on the back for a job well done, and pretty much everything you do could have been done better if only you had more time/more co-operative students/more control over the outcome.Perhaps men just can't hack the fuzzy edges and the need for infinite patience. Maybe women simply suit the job better. I wonder how many female mechanics there are.
Vincent Ridgway AP (Pukekohe)
The issue of male teachers and their reluctance to enter the teaching profession is not rocket science. Ask a simple question, Pro Vice-Chancellor James Chapman and you get a typically simple "male" response. No need for expensive research costing thousands, that in the end tell us what we already inherently know. So here goes.... well lets try the feminisation of the teaching sector, increasing exposure to sex abuse allegations, OSH and EOTC requirements that remove the ability for appropriate male interaction, inability to engage in historically risktaking activities such as contact rugby, Whistleblower legislation on teacher performance within the Teachers Council, inadequate recourses in dealing with behavioural extremes despite government announcements, increasing administrative workload, androgynous gender roles for men, a demand on men to accept a greater "support" role in solving single parent issue ! Hows that for starters!
A lot of my male friends over 30 are very distressed over the progressive feminisation of culture and attitudes in New Zealand society. I agree that we are at the point now where the male persona is often seen condescendingly and where it is being institutionalised out of public life - e.g. schools. It goes further than just public life however; many of my mates are choosing to have relationships/marriages with foreign women instead of locals - and this doesn't necessarily mean they are from Asia or further afield, as Australian women are often seen favourably by NZ men to their kiwi counterparts.
They don't take up teaching because they they're bright enough to know that the institutes do more harm than good.
I am appalled by the amount of anti-feminism, anti-women sentiments expressed in this debate. "Why do women want jobs anyway" "Women are taking jobs away from men" "We don't want women being role models to children" "Why don't we chain our women to the stove where they belong" Where would you be without women? Who would pay the other half of your mortgage? Who would give birth to your children? Who gave birth to you? If you think men are not being given a fair chance in the job market, remember that women were once not allowed to work, or go to school, or to even have a say who they married. And that was not that long ago.
Chris (Central Otago)
My wife who is associated with our local primary school, says that the majority of kids in the school are now from single parent families. There are no male teachers in the school. The kids are growing up with little male role model in their lives. That is a very strange imbalance.
As a young male ex-teacher I can say without a doubt that child abuse cases were not the reason I left teaching. I found the only way to go up the scale in pay was to get additional qualifications or become part of the management team. I was a great classroom teacher, but all the paperwork was my downfall. Management would have been terrible for me as I would miss the children and have paperwork to do all day.
I now work in a company that sells computers to schools. I am well paid, have a company phone, laptop and car and I get commission on all my sales. I do not miss teaching at all, but I miss the kids. The only way you could get me to go back teaching would be if you were paid for your efforts.
I, as male, stopped teaching at secondary level many years ago because the "feminist teachers association" was effectively in control of the school where I taught, and had all sorts of agendas operating.
Teacher's daughter and a Teacher myself
I'd like to add my experience: my stepfather is a secondary teacher of many years (tech drawing and technology subjects – used to be called woodwork) and he has recently expressed concerns about the way in which "excellence" is taught, promoted, encouraged and recognised in NZ. There seems to be a move towards more female-oriented learning styles (discussion/ group projects/ peer evaluation) and this marginalizes boys that have always excelled more at "do/find/make" kind of tasks. From my point of view, I am PhD qualified and teach the next generation of PhD, MA and BA level minds. Several men I know have discussed teaching as a career in NZ (way of coming home) but will simply not return to uni or tech for a year or 2 to learn how to teach, as they have experience in teaching for many years already (and if you think its only teaching the best and brightest at Uni - that was about 40 years ago, particularly in the arts).
Female Maths (Secondary) Teacher (Auckland)
I think that some men who would like to teach and would make excellent teachers decide not to teach because: 1. The career options are not varied enough. 2. Public respect for teachers is lacking. 3. Pay is more important than Holidays. 4. They are at risk of being accused of sexual abuse.Many Mothers (and potential Mothers) are attracted to teaching because: 1. They are not career driven. 2. They are not worried about their image. 3. Holidays to spend with their own children are more important than pay.4. They do not have to worry about being accused of being a pedophile.Just my (Mathematical and Logical) perspective. Please remember I am speaking in very general terms.
My daughter is currently taking an education paper at Auckland University and after what she has relayed to me about what is being taught, I am not surprised that men are not studying to become teachers. It seems that too much time is spent in social engineering and expounding the hardship of women and gender related issues. Feminists have decided that what's really wrong with the world is men, and therefore are doing all they can to emasculate them and make them redundant. How can we possible expect a man to want to be continually exposed to condemnation for three years all for the sake of becoming a teacher?
We are seeing the culmination of many years of determined, hard work by the anti-male movement, which has sought to remove men from institutions such as schools. These idiots are so caught up in their cause they don't see or care about the side effects - men falling behind in schools, problems with young disenfranchised males (boy-racers etc) and one of the highest male youth suicide rates in the world. It's no wonder there's a huge disparity in the number of women and men in NZ, all our men are leaving for a less hostile environment. The shame is it's our sons that will suffer - the thought of sending my son to today's schools is not an encouraging one. This mess will take many years to clean up and cause a lot of societal problems in the future.
It's interesting to see all these people attributing the situation to left wing feminist PC influences. Quite apart from 'PC' being a term normally used by those who want to fulminate without actually thinking about an issue, I am fascinated by the labelling of people as left wing feminists. Apart from that there are plenty of thoughtful people here who have pointed out that the issues are complex, and have a long history that is independent of ideological politics. Trying to make it an issue of left v right, party politics or feminism, simply makes it more difficult to actually consider what are the best things to do about it.
Good on the men for getting out and not tolerating the unbearable and impossible workload of administration involved in teaching. The truth is that the paperwork in teaching is a full-time job in itself. Unfortunately although teachers would like to do what they are trained for, and that is - teach. Yet, the paperwork keeps them up late at nights and on weekends. I think the males that are giving up teaching, are the sensible ones who realise that there is a life out there. Women should start standing up too, and take action by leaving the profession. Then those who are demanding the mounds and mounds of paperwork (which can only be done outside of teaching hours), might sit up and take note.
Southern Kiwi (Central Otago)
The pendulum has swung too far towards "soft" teaching methods. Many potentially very good male teachers never start due to their perceived vulnerability to allegations of sexual abuse. Until such time as we are willing to be honest with kids regarding their academic and sporting ability/limitations/potential etc instead of "mollycoddling" them, men will stay away in droves.
While pay and paedophilia accusations may be conspicuous reasons for the decline in male teachers, underlying those is the increasing presence of women in the workforce. Few women expect not to work once their children (if they have any) reach school age. In a workforce that does not recognize the value of parenting, there are a few exceptions and the school is one of them. As an employer a school will generally give equal importance to an employees role of parent as they do to their role as employee. For this reason and because women continue to be chief caregivers, they are more likely to choose teaching. Males will only re-enter teaching when women are more able to find jobs elsewhere in the workforce which value parenting, enabling them to care for their children after school (teachers can do this because they usually work at the school their children attend), and to be flexible in case of sickness etc.
On second thoughts: Don't worry about the sex of the teacher, I would be more worried about the age of the teachers. The average age of a teacher at present is 50 years of age! Probably a shock statistic for those not in the profession. Shouldn't we be more concerned about this?? As the aging profession retires (over the next decade) we are going to see teacher shortages like we have never seen before. What is the Ministry doing about this? We need to ask the questions!
Men are badly needed if only as male role models. However in light of so many hysterical accusations of sexual acts by the male teachers I imagine most men would think twice before embarking on a school teaching job. The system is feminised only because of the failure of the system to preserve and protect them and therefore to maintain the correct balance.
I considered teaching as a career, but eventually decided against it. The reason that I decided against it was largely the threat that I might be accused of being a kiddy-fiddler, and knowing that no matter whether I was proven innocent or not I would be forever smeared. Another reason is that I know too many people who vociferously blame teachers for their childrens' academic and even behavioural deficiencies. On a lighter note, I'm disturbed reading through the Your Views before mine to see the number of spelling and grammatical errors. Proof that something needs to be done about the teaching situation in New Zealand, or a whole new level of pedantry? You decide!
Reading the shear volume of letters as well as the overwhelming consensus of views expressed tells its own very worrying tale. Any statistical analyst will tell you that you just don't get that with out something being seriously wrong. Only a fool would ignore this. But the people who brought this situation about are the very people who are now in power, both inside and outside the profession. So that is just what will happen, it will be ignored. Oh sure, there will be the usual platitudinous nonsense from ministry hacks and politicians but you can be certain nothing real will be done to address this. Men are neither respected nor supported nor valued in this ideologically driven profession. Why would any intelligent man place himself in the way of such harm? Believe me you are better off out of it. If you really want to teach then do so by other means, by example or by success at something else or become a writer. There are other ways to influence and teach.
Do we really need to spend thousands of dollars researching this? Poor pay, long working hours and ridiculous amounts of meaningless paperwork are issues, and are what forced my husband and myself (both teachers) overseas. The real problem though is pedophilia hysteria. Political correctness in New Zealand seems to have reached levels where all men pose a threat to children and men who choose to go into teaching are considered guilty from the outset. It is so sad that we have fathers and grandfathers nervous about being around their own children and grandchildren. Have people forgotten that vast numbers of girls and women have positive relationships with the men in their lives? I feel sorry for men in New Zealand, but I feel especially sorry for the children (boys and girls) who are missing out on great teachers, great role models and a balance in who educates them. It is to the detriment of our society as a whole.
As a qualified swimming teacher in the Gulf I was able to teach all age children, after Peter Ellis case I decided I would never teach in NZ on my return. We have anti-men people here on Waihele a lot and I would be always suspect.Perhaps after the David Bains affair there should be a petition to Parliament for the next election to include a vote on a pardon for Peter Ellis with an independent review of all the evidence as per the Thomas affair. There has been very few cases like Peter Ellis since his trial, I believe that is due to both men staying out of the teaching profession for fear and the police and justice system would dare not do another such badly prosecuted case.
Our pseudo-socialist government still doesn't realise that all their PC endeavours to protect every woman and child have flow on consequences. Like the lack of male teachers through the feminisation of the trade and through fear of being labelled a sexual deviant. And is that talk of lack of male role models being a possible cause of our current youth issues? Hmmm, where's Sherlock when you need him....?
The old stick
Yes I happen to agree with this statement and our education shows the creeping liberals with their gender ideals. So much so that the education of our young is failing and this is borne by the number of our children falling out of school in their early high school days.(In fact some do fall out earlier). What needs to be addressed is both the manner of teaching and the balance of staffing with normal male and female members. Who can we get to address the problem? Is it the government? I doubt it as this is out of balance, and teens to be very liberal.
PC incorrect male
From what I have heard from friends is some teachers colleges make male trainees feel PC incorrect for just being males and being there.
Should we be worried as a society, that television has a charter to "ensure its programmes and programme planning has participation of Maori and the presence of a significant Maori voice" and yet education has no such "charter" to ensure that our children and our future have the right to be educated by both male and female teachers', especially in the formative primary school years?
Wow, after reading all of the reponses for the male teachers debate it appears that New Zealand is still stuck in the grips of a femisist favouring society.Thank god I'm still living in London, and I now understand why all of my male friends continue to leave New Zealand in favour of the greener pastures across the Tasman or the UK. Guys of New Zealand, its time to band together and make a stand. "Equal Rights" means Equal Rights. Lets not let New Zealand continue to fall into a PC matriarchal society where the only good thing about it will be the beautiful outdoors.
As I woman I also agree that there is an element of extreme liberal feminism at force, developing an us vs. them mentality and yep, the government is pretty PC yet I am a liberal lefty na di cant come up with an explanation. The best teacher I had at school, in my Form 1 and 2 years, 1988-89, was male. Two years later he was to be accused of sexual harassment. I am shocked. His behaviour was always a bit casual, and he did tease us a lot but we had thick skins and we needed a good adult friend too. There is a general widespread culture of fear that we live in. How many of you are friends with your neighbours? Why not?
It is a shame really. I had some great male teachers at school – and I'm a woman. I know of an old work colleague who went teaching. He didn't seem worried by the stigma surrounding male teachers. His reason was that the pay was good, better than his old jobs, but the hours were long meaning you didn't have much of a social life. Not a good career move if you are single, I guess.
I find it interesting that the lower paid teachers every day in the classroom are mainly women, and yet the majority of highly paid principals are men. It has nothing to do with the PC brigade. Men don't want jobs that require hard graft every day with little financial reward. These women are the only people who have stepped up to the arduous and admirable task of teaching our children. Someone has to do it.
Many of Your Views suggest that we are blaming the teachers for the discrimination against male teachers. The teachers don't get much of a voice in who is branded a paedophile or not. That's mainly up to the government and the general public. Just as the men don't want to risk teaching for fear of being branded paedophiles, so too the public don't really want to speak out against the government's views for fear of punishment in some way. So I'm going to bypass all the previous comments about people accusing male teachers as molesters, and I'm going to go straight to the source. I believe it is the government, both past for many years, and present, that is responsible for branding our male teachers as child molesters. Indirectly of course because they would never have such a scandal discussed in parliament, but their laws and their views of the population they serve are biased against men in general. I only need to point to the recent passing of the 80% publicly opposed anti-smacking bill as one example. In the case of smacking, who would be punished more? The man who we are told doesn't want to raise children anyway, or the woman?
With the PC crap that we have seen from the Labour govt over the last few years linked up with the feminist movement there is not much chance of men taking the risk to be near kids by becoming teachers. I am a grandfather, smacked my kids backsides when they needed it and surprise surprise none of them have been in trouble with the Police or touched drugs etc. Get this govt and the feminist movement out of our faces, leave good parents to get on with it and men might start to come back to teaching because all kids need male as well as female influence, and I am talking about real males and real females. Not those who don't know if they are Arthur or Martha.
From a male teachers perspective: 1. One thing that I have found frustrating is that after four years in the profession, I was earning less than what my university friends earnt in their first year in the workforce. 2. Being already a female dominated profession means that school are not a workplace that men are attracted to. 3. Unfortunately the state of our society has meant that there are certain risks that male teacher place themselves in when they enter the teaching profession making it an undesirable career choice. The latter two points are able to be dealt with, but, increasingly we see children who are coming into school without male role models as parents. We need more males. With our new collective aggreement being negotiated soon, get behind the teachers and demand more pay!
When I started secondary teaching in 1991, as a young, degree-qualified male, I thought I had landed the best job in the world. And for a time it was. But by 2005, the ridiculous expectations, teacher bashing, and general stupidity of the Ministry, academics, ERO, and other classroom refugees had become too much. So I resigned. Feminisation of content, if it exists, is only part of the problem. Other philosophical shifts have done more damage. For example the idea, now pervasive, that students' shortcomings are due to those of their teachers' - as if parents and students have no responsibility! What rot. Another cancerous idealism needing excision is the idea of a "differentiated" learning program for every student. One teacher charged with "teaching" five classes of thirty students per day must adopt a one-to-many approach. To suggest otherwise ignores reality. NCEA completes the would-be teacher's misery. Assessment is the tail that wags the teaching dog, and the dog is dying of exhaustion! Capital punishment would be too great a mercy for the NCEA's originators. Teaching has become a mug's game, and the men, and any others able, have left. I feel sorry for teachers.
Richard from Auckland - Teachers Owner
My better half is a teacher in Sth Auckland and I regularly despair when discussing her day. Too feminised ? - possibly , but more likely it's a combination of too PC (which I'd suggest is a feminine driven movement), average pay and fear of false accusations of improper behaviour. Think the David Benson-Pope frenzy - who cares if he did it or not ? I don't . Teachers ( whether male or female) are not allowed to be alone with a pupil - ever ! Whilst it's a stereotype, I believe it's because men just can't be bothered with all the PC, hassle and cover your butt-ness coupled with the average pay. The few men that do go into it are really driven by the right ideals, but most of these eventually get driven out by the femi-nazis.
One main reason is the earning power, unless you are a head of a department the money is not enough to support a family,you must have a passion to pass knowledge on. You are not paid to learn, where as other industries like building, electrical even business, you can start at entry level and earn while you learn instead of inquering a debt to start. Women are nurturers, teaching comes easily and to be paid for it is an added bonus. Also the bad press men have received over trust issues on caring for children, it must be politically correct and policed. So men would steer clear of an inbalanced area.
As a former teacher, the whole education system in NZ has become an futile exercise in feminism and political correctness coupled with the demonization of men in this country. Why the hell would a male teacher stay in the profession or consider going into the once nobl