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A growing number of Australian primary schools are staffed entirely by females as the number of male teachers has dropped to one in five.

“Our children are missing out on what is a diverse teaching experience … some children don’t experience a male teacher until upper primary school,” Early Childhood Education Lecturer at the University of South Australia, Mr Mills-Bayne told the ABC.  “Providing that diversity in young children’s experiences allows them to see complex relationships in classrooms and beyond.”

The findings of a report commissioned by the Education Department in 2009 titled ‘Teacher Supply and Demand in South Australia — Beyond 2010,’ has recommended specific attention be given to boost the the number of male graduates.

Despite this, there are yet to be any strategies or campaigns in South Australia aimed at encouraging more men into teaching.

Sam Bradley from the Department of Education and Child Development said the priority was given to employing high quality teachers overall.

“The Department for Education and Child Development is an equal opportunity employer with an open selection recruitment policy,” she told the ABC in a recent interview.  “This means the teaching positions advertised are open to registered male and female teachers through a merit selection process and the panel at the school determines the most suitable applicant for the position.”

The University of South Australia itself only has 4 per cent male students currently studying early childhood education, with less than 10 male students graduating from the course each year.  The number is slightly higher for primary teaching, with 17 per cent of students currently enrolled being male.

For the past four years, early childhood education lecturer Mr Mills-Bayne has been trying to increase the number of males in the degree through a support program he devised, entitled, ‘The MENtor program.’

“What can happen in studying and teaching is that it can become a very isolating experience for men,” he said.  “The MENtor program allows connections between men who have been through the program and men who are out there teaching who can perhaps provide that unique experience of being a male teaching in an early childhood or primary setting.”

Image source: Shutter Stock

  • Almost half of my partners childhood friends became teachers, so that there is quite a few male teachers.

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  • There are only a handful of male teachers at my kids’ school. I’ve noticed a much higher proportion of male principals in the area though.
    Teaching should be much better paid and valued. That is one of the reason so few men take up teaching.

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  • yeah there is a big pressure on boys to do the MANLY jobs though and more people feel comfortable with females anyway.

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  • This is a real pity as both I and my sons have had some great male teachers. There is a real opportunity here to get more men into teaching.

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  • Our experience has been the opposite – plenty of male teachers. It does vary from school to school.

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  • I have heard that some male teachers are afraid of having false allegations made about them, that there is the risk of a child making an allegation as revenge for being not being allowed to do something which is not acceptable.
    If the child is a bully, other children may be bullied into making similar comments about the same teacher or another one.
    Some female teachers/ childcare staff are wary of comforting a distressed child the same way as the parent would because somebody might get the wrong impression……or a child may take a sudden dislike to that method – the parents have changed methods but the staff aren’t aware of it….then the child complains to another adult.

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  • Interesting. My brother and a few of my male friends are primary school teachers. They love it but are definitely a minority.


    • Good on them – teaching is a brilliant job.

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  • what a great loss for kids

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  • My daughter is at Uni at the moment and shes in training to become a teacher. Most of the other students in her course are female.

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  • My boys have had a male teacher last year, one this year and one of the two teachers next year is male. Our school must be an oddity. Plus both my parents were teachers – no shortage of male teachers in my life!

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  • I wonder why they are declining. I had some fantastic male teachers when I was at school

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  • we’ve had a few male teachers and they have been great. sad if the numbers are declining.

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  • I hope they don’t cause I had some male teachers growing up and so did my children and they where great teachers, my technical studies teacher was awesome he even raced mud rally cars which we used to watch on the weekends and one of the teachers my children had used to go to medieval shows and fight it was great but best of all they cared enough to know when we needed help.

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  • I had almost all male teachers when i was in high school. I think its a great thing. Alot of the kids looked up to them and respected them. We were scared sh*tless to do anything wrong haha

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  • I was pleased to find a male carer at our child care centre. I hope they’ll get to experience a ale teacher, too.

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