FEAR and uncertainty about physical contact with students is a major concern for many male primary school teachers.
Last year we shared that a former teacher, Vaughan Cruikshank, hopes his recent research will help younger men deal with the issues male teachers face.
Dr Cruikshank, of the University of Tasmania, recently completed a PhD looking at the challenges male primary school teachers face, and asked experienced male teachers in Tasmania how they coped with those challenges.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 600 out of 2989 primary school teachers in Tasmania are male, or about 20 per cent.
Dr Cruikshank said there were three main challenges male primary school teachers face: fear and uncertainty about physical contact, expectations they perform masculine roles, and social isolation, reports The Mercury.
“Dr Cruikshank said worries about physical contact with students, including fear of false accusations, was male teachers’ No. 1 one concern”
“[For] some their strategy was ‘I do not make physical contact with my students full stop’,” Dr Cruikshank said.
“Others wanted to be similar to their female colleagues, and not teach their students that only females can hug [students].”
Those teachers would ask the student’s permission to touch them if they were responding to a first aid situation and would use handshakes and high fives in other situations.
“If they had a group of students or children in class they were generally unworried — it was only when they were one-on-one,” Dr Cruikshank said.
“They were quite concerned their female colleagues could build stronger relationships with their students through that physical contact.”
I think male or female it is important that children are shown compassion! My boys have both had male teachers over the years and I do find that some struggle with that gentle, compassionate touch that kids often need.
The Demise of Male Teachers?
Experts predict there will be no male teachers in the classroom after 2067.
A hot topic on one Sunrise episode last year was how research claims teaching is not a masculine profession.
Kids need male role models and quite often for many that come from the classroom. Don’t take that away.
Do we think it is more the fear of being accused of inappropriate behaviour with students?
Do you think male teachers will one day be a thing of the past? (I hope not!)
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