Call for male educators and teachers of color
Are you a male, or a person of color who is considering pursuing a career in education? Do it! We need you so badly!
It’s at the point of crisis.
Read on to learn reasons why entering the field of education might have significant benefits for you, but first let’s address why we need you.
For students to be be prepared to function in the real world, the population of adults in schools should reflect the population of adults in the real world.
Unfortunately, this is almost never the case. According to the US Census, 49.2 percent of the United States’ population is male. As you can see in the chart below, only 11% of elementary teachers are male and only 36% of secondary teachers are male.
Men are not only desperately needed in classrooms to reflect the reality of society, but also to provide positive role models to male students.
In an ideal world all boys/young men would have positive role models in their home or community, but sadly this is not always the case. For some kids, their only opportunity to have a constant, caring, positive male role model is in the school setting. We are doing our young boys, ourselves, and our future society as a whole a disservice by not providing these role models.
Male teachers offer life perspective
Female teachers do not know and can never fully understand what it means to be a young male in the world. Although female teachers can be amazingly empathetic to that experience, it is not the same as having experienced it themselves. Only a male teacher can truly connect with a male student on that level.
Male teachers offer a different presence in the classroom
Like it or not, kids act differently with different people. In my experience, students who are struggling behaviorally will often respond more readily to a male intervention than a female intervention, especially in the higher grade levels.
When I looked for research on this I found nothing to back up my assertion or to suggest otherwise, but ask any teacher who has been in the business long enough to have seen kids with behavior problems (especially boys) interact with male and female teachers and I’m going to bet they will tell you that those students respond better to male teachers.
This is not to suggest that boys don’t need social and emotional guidance along with assertive discipline, but in cases where discipline is the main problem my experience says that male teachers get more respect.
It is clear to me that we need to recruit more male teachers into the classroom (how we do that is a whole other issue), but gender is only part of the problem.
Research is clear that the increasing population of minority students in our schools is far outpacing the increase in population of minority teachers. According to the Public School Review “for the first time in history, public school students in the United States are majority-minority.” A 2017 article in the Huffington Post addresses this issue. According to the article, not a single state has equally diverse populations of teachers and students.
The same issues arise as with the lack of male teachers. Again we have a population of teachers who do not reflect the population of society and the student population they are teaching. We also have large numbers of students who do not have role models they can relate to on the levels of race and gender.
Benefits of being male and/or minority in the education field
1: You are in demand!
Schools are begging for male and minority teachers, teacher assistants, coaches, guidance counselors, school psychologists, administrators, student support specialists….need I go on? Finding a job should not be difficult at all just about anywhere in the country! Check out this article in Parenting Magazine on the importance of male teachers.
2: You can make a real difference
Be the person in a kid’s life who is a constant, consistent, positive mentor and role model. This one aspect of education alone, minus any factual information or academic knowledge bestowed, is enough to change student’s lives and yours for the better.
3: Share your passions or culture with kids
So many schools lack clubs that reflect the student body because there aren’t adults in the building qualified to sponsor those clubs. For example an African American Culture Club, a video game club, maybe a film club, or a foreign book club. Not that female or Caucasian teachers can’t start clubs like these, but often they don’t.
4: Opportunities for promotion
You are not going to get a promotion to assistant principal or eventually principal or beyond based solely on your race or gender (I hope not anyway), but we need teacher leaders who represent greater society as much as we need those teachers in the classroom.