by Julian Grenier

It’s been a good week for news about this. A report in the Observer takes another look at a familiar question: why are there so few men in primary and nursery education?

Alongside the usual stuff – pay, status, being thought of as creepy and/or a paedophile – there are some other things which are new to me. Apparently male applicants for teacher training do a terrible job of filling out the application form and are less likely to prepare by undertaking voluntary work in schools. So even if applicant-levels are high, this won’t necessarily translate into large numbers of men in teacher-training, let alone in schools.

This seems a little odd to me. Presumably most professional jobs and training courses place similar demands on applicants – so how come men are so well represented in all the other professional jobs, but not teaching?

The article recycles the usual stuff about how important it is for boys to have “male role models” in schools.

Is this true? Has anyone done a comparative study of boys who haven’t had a male teacher, with boys who have? Are there any substantial differences?

What would it be like to be employed as a “male role model”? It seems to me like a devil’s pact: you take the job but you give up the right to be yourself, to be anything other than a “role model”.

A model which has been created by other people.