As the number of male teachers in nurseries and schools continues to decrease, the resultant gender imbalance has become the focus of increased discussion and debate.
While previous research has been suggesting that the reasons for the decline in the number of males enrolling in teacher education are complex and multi-faceted, four factors that had a significant impact on the low number of male teachers and early years practitioners working in educational settings are related to:
• Working in a predominantly female environment
• Physical contact with children
Studies have shown that each of the four issues can potentially affect the decision to start a career in childcare and education, and impact satisfaction and productivity in the workplace.
In an attempt to learn more about how these factors concern and challenge male teachers, several surveys and interviews have also revealed that gender stereotypes have a negative influence on men in education.
Moreover, research demonstrates that the declining number of male practitioners results in increased pressure and work for those who choose to remain in the profession.
Four common struggles for a male teacher
Male teachers are feeling isolated in their profession, according to new research.
While male staff face similar problems to their female colleagues, such as work-related stress, workload, career development and relationships, men working in education also face specific issues. Here is a list of the most common challenges revealed to us by male teachers:
• Many nurseries and school staff members are the only males in their setting. As a result, they sometimes feel unable to talk to female colleagues about their problems.
• A high number of men in childcare and education feel like they are always expected to put themselves at risk because of their gender. For instance, they are often having children sent to them to discipline after being violent. Male teachers disagree that they have more expertise than female staff in handling this kind of situation purely because of their gender.
• Male teachers report they are often expected to resolve IT issues, adding to their workload.
• Some male teachers disclosed they are often asked to give up some of their free time to take extracurricular activities such as football and rugby clubs.
Where can a male teacher find help?
At Male Childcare and Teaching Jobs, we are committed to providing you with the right advice and support. If the challenges you are experiencing at work are affecting your mental health, you can seek support from the following organisations:
• Education Support – Initially known as The Teachers’ Benevolent Fund, Education Support is a charity that provides practical and relevant support to all those working in the education sector today.
• Teach First – An organisation that helps people develop into inspiring teachers. They support teachers every step of the way as they discover their potential.
• Male Psychology Network – A network of psychological therapists, consultants, educationalists, and trainees who recognise the unique issues facing men today and take a sympathetic approach to men’s issues.