The last blog I wrote was about how our boys are struggling in school like never before. The shortage of male elementary teachers certainly impacts that issue. Many boys prefer male teaches, but are lucky if they ever get one before they are in middle school.
Most states, including Minnesota, only have a staff of 11- 20% male elementary teachers. However, those low numbers don’t really accurately reflect the actual classrooms. First of all, many of the PE teachers are male. If you would remove that male PE teacher from the ratio, the numbers would even be worse! Also, those numbers are even lower in K-3 grades where there are nearly all female teachers. Lastly, a lot of elementary schools have paraprofessionals to help in the classroom, and they are nearly all female. Ugly numbers.
Does it really make a difference if a teacher is male or female? It sure can. And, it does.
- Why do you think the male custodians are so popular in elementary schools? Because both girls and boys enjoy having male role models, especially in the era of so many single moms raising their children.
- Male teachers are more likely to use humor and be goofy. Not as many female teachers consistently bring those elements into the classroom. Our oldest son ADORED his 5th grade teacher because he was so funny. It was the best year in elementary school!
- Male teachers are going to include more classroom activities that include movement and competition. Boys typically need more movement during the day and love competition. Most female teachers aren’t including them enough.
- More often than girls, boys learn best by hands on activities-kinistetic learners. Male teachers are more likely to include hands on learning experiences.
- Lastly, the classroom of a male teacher will likely have a different look to it. The animal posters may include a snake or spider. There may be posters and pictures of things such as monster trucks and sports figures.
I’m certainly not trying create a stir about gender differences. There are significant gender issues that need to be addressed in our elementary schools that can make learning more engaging for both boys and girls.
Did you have any male elementary teachers? If so, how were they different than your female teachers?