Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Men in traditional female occupations

My kids went back to school yesterday, and once the parent party was over, I noticed how very few male teachers there are in my school. I think this is pretty common around North America, especially at elementary schools.

Is this a function of our paranoid society, where every man is seen as a possible abuser and women are seen as more nurturing? Is that why men teach at high school but not so much at elementary?

The sad part is I believe boys need male role models at the younger grades. I haven't done any scientific research, but is it possible boys feel a little alienated in the classroom because girls can identify with the teacher better?

Luckily for my kids, we have had some male teachers. Not in the classroom, but at daycare and after-school care. Even at the toddler stage, my boys had at least one male teacher -- very rare for ECE (early childhood education). They had two male teachers in the 3-5 year old group at daycare. And there was a male teacher at my older son's aftercare his first year (an aboriginal, disabled male to boot!), who was an amazing guy and super role model.

And today, I learned that my younger son's kindercare teacher (in my province, kindergarten is only 2 1/2 hours a day. The rest of the school day I pay for kindercare, then aftercare. It's all run at our school by the YMCA, and it's a great program, but it costs me.), with whom he'll spend more time than his female kindergarten teacher, is a man. And a Gen Y, manly looking guy to boot. I'm pretty pleased.

So why aren't men teaching young kids?

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