by James Wilson - NewsTalk - Ireland

That’s according to teacher and columnist Jennifer Horgan who feels the roots of the problem begin very early on.

“About 80% [of primary school teachers are] women, I think, and if there is a man in the building, he tends to be the principal,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.

“Secondary is a little bit better, I think it’s about 60%.

“So, the implications of it are huge.

“In general, we need a more diverse teaching profession.

“I think the fact that teachers have to have Irish, that blocks a lot of people, and I suppose the whole religion thing comes in there as well.”

If more men were to become primary school teachers, Ms Horgan feels, it would be hugely beneficial to the boys they teach.

“We speak a lot about the curriculum and education,” she said.

“But we don’t speak enough about the hidden curriculum – and that’s the stuff that young people pick up on in the classroom that isn’t said, that isn’t taught.

“Stuff like that, there’s always a woman at the top of the classroom.

“So, boys coming up, if they don’t see it, they can’t believe it.

“They just don’t associate teaching with themselves; they don’t see themselves in that role and they do see it as a female profession.”

If society does want more men to become teachers, Ms Horgan said the status of the teaching profession needs to be enhanced.

“Yes, teaching is a wonderfully rewarding job – but it’s not seen as a prestigious one,” she said.

“The truth of that is very telling in that principals are predominantly men.

“So, if you’re going to be a teacher as a man, you should really be trying to be a principal.

“That in itself sends the message that teaching isn’t enough.”

Currently, principals across the country have said there is a shortage of teachers – both male and female.

The problem is particularly acute in Dublin – with the high cost of living blamed.

August 29, 2023

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