by Jody Kerzman - KFYR News - Bismark, ND

Teaching has always been dominated by women. But over the years, more men have ventured into the career. Still, there is a shortage of male teachers, especially on the elementary level. Nationally, experts say the number of men in the classroom is now at a 40 year low.

Erik Hanson teaches sixth grade science at Bismarck`s Solheim Elementary. He is the only male teacher at his school, and one of just 20 in the entire district. That`s out of more than 400 teachers district-wide.

There are more male teachers at the middle and high school levels, but those in charge of hiring say they are seeing more men apply for teaching jobs, despite some concerns.

“There is a concern with the rate of pay, whether men felt comfortable being able to raise a family,” says Lisa Kudelka, a human resources director. “As we`re raising our pay and with good benefits, I think people feel more comfortable taking that on as an occupation.”

All teachers become role models to our children, but for male teachers that`s an especially important job.