According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 18.8 percent of elementary and middle school teachers are male. In pre-kindergarten and kindergarten the number of male teachers is just 2.4 percent. According to the National Education Association the sector could become even more female dominated, because fewer and fewer men are entering the profession. Studies have shown how positive male role models can have a profound effect on the developmental behavior of children, so why is it that men are so underrepresented in this area of the teaching profession?
Even today, there is a certain stigma attached to men who want to work with young children. The fear is that men are more likely to behave inappropriately. Despite laws to overcome sexual discrimination in the workplace, some people still think teaching young children is for women. These preconceptions can discourage men from even considering a teaching career in kindergarten or elementary schools. The relatively low starting salary is another reason why many men are not attracted to this profession.
Teaching children in kindergarten and elementary schools can be an extremely rewarding job. Some would argue that workforces should reflect the communities that they serve, and this could be achieved if more men chose teaching as a profession. As well as the gratification of helping young people learn, a teaching job allows you to be creative, have fun, and inspire young students on a daily basis. Male teachers can also benefit from the relatively sociable teaching hours, and the generous holidays that come with the profession. Another positive aspect of teaching younger children is job security. In many communities there are a shortage of teachers, so a qualified teacher can find it easier to get a job in this sector.
Many people believe that having a male teacher as a role model in their lives can have a positive effect on the many young boys who don’t have fathers at home. Young boys can also learn that teaching is a worthwhile male occupation. It would be wrong to suggest that male teachers are more important to young boys than female teachers; male and female teachers can both be positive role models to both sexes. But boys and girls will arguably get a more rounded education if there are female and male teachers.
States that have higher teacher salaries have been shown to have more male teachers. Recruiting and retaining teachers by improving salaries could increase the number of men working in education. Luckily for the health of the profession, salaries for teachers are increasing. Benefits including health and dental insurance are usually offered to teachers as well. All these factors could encourage more men to enter teaching and make a positive difference to their workplace. With love, passion and motivation, male teachers can bring just as many skills to the classroom as women can. More male teachers in kindergarten and elementary schools could arguably offer a more balanced education to children, helping to shape their early social and intellectual development. And along with their female colleagues, male teachers can have a profound influence on their future performance in school and in their personal lives.