Archive for the ‘Male Teachers’ Category

Sexism and Schools

October 15, 2013

lolly

For all the persecution, bullying and inappropriate workplace demeanor handed out to women for no other reason than their gender. For all the glass ceilings and boys clubs, it figures that there would be one sanctuary, one workplace, where women were treated with more respect than men. It just so happens that the place where the sexism tables are turned is in my very line of work.

A crossing guard is forced to walk away from his profession for no other reason than he high-fived children. Of course the council saw that as inappropriate but didn’t want to say what they really felt, and instead used the “safety concern” excuse. We all know that the council was less worried about safety and more worried about a grown man high-fiving children.

Which leads me to the following question: What if it had been a woman crossing guard who high-fived kids? Still a safety concern? I think not.

I feel sorry for the crossing guard and completely understand why he walked away from his job. To stop high-fiving would be giving tacit approval to the subtext of his allegations.  And whilst I don’t think male teachers or crossing guards should be high-fiving students, I sympathise with the clear double standards that are in play. The same double standards that sees female teachers often hug students and have them on their lap. The same double standards that gives female teachers lesser sentences for the same heinous crimes as their male counterparts.

But at the end of the day, whether you’re a crossing guard or a teacher, what’s more important than equality is the rights of children. I may be in the only field of work where men get treated worse than women, but that’s OK with me, because those kids deserve the very best of care regardless of who is put out or discriminated against.

Click on the link to read I Would be Happy to Have CCTV Cameras in My Classroom

Click on the link to read Should Classrooms Be Fitted With Surveillance Cameras?

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Click on the link to read Two-Year Olds Forced to Have Fingerprints and Mug Shots Taken

Click on the link to read Male Teachers Beware!

Click on the link to read Are Male Teachers Subject to Sexual Discrimination?

Click on the link to read The absence of male teachers in public schools

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The PC Police and its Implications for Male Teachers

May 13, 2013

bernie

This is a classic example why male teachers must be extremely careful to act above and beyond the professional standards adhered to by their female colleagues.

Do you honestly think that if a female crossing guard was ‘high-fiving’ children anyone would even blink an eye?

A LOLLIPOP man has been banned from giving high-fives to children as they cross the road because it’s “too dangerous”, according to the health and safety police.

Bernie Robertson – who has stopped traffic to keep young pupils safe outside Mount Annan Public School in Sydney’s southwest for 13 years – has been cautioned after a review of guidelines by Roads and Maritime Services.

Parents with children at the school have launched a furious revolt, starting a Facebook page “Support for Bernie our crossing man”, which has received more than 870 likes and an online petition with 250 signatures.

Mr Robertson said he was overwhelmed by the response from the community. “Of course I’m very pleased with the support, with what the parents have done,” he said.

Rachael Sowden, from the Parents and Citizens Association of NSW, said the issue was an example of political correctness “gone mad”.

 “We don’t believe high-fiving little children is an inappropriate thing,” she said.

“Sometimes people take things a little bit too far and this sounds like one of those incidents. While there’s no concern for their wellbeing it does seem a little bit like PC gone mad.”

 

Click on the link to read I Would be Happy to Have CCTV Cameras in My Classroom

Click on the link to read Should Classrooms Be Fitted With Surveillance Cameras?

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Click on the link to read Two-Year Olds Forced to Have Fingerprints and Mug Shots Taken

Click on the link to read Male Teachers Beware!

Click on the link to read Are Male Teachers Subject to Sexual Discrimination?

Click on the link to read The absence of male teachers in public schools

I Would be Happy to Have CCTV Cameras in My Classroom

April 2, 2013

cross

As a male teacher I believe that CCTV cameras would protect me and would reassure parents that I am a professional and trustworthy teacher . I would also be in favour of steaming footage live from my classroom to the parents of my students to give them insights into their child, the style in which I teach and the standard of learning inside the classroom.

I can understand why a falsely accused teacher would be in favour on cameras in the classroom. I just feel that the benefits for teachers are quite compelling:

A Falklands hero told yesterday how his life had been turned upside down by a girl who falsely claimed he sexually attacked her to appear “cool” to her schoolmates.

Ex-para Richard Cross, 51, who retrained as a teacher, said: “One minute I was sitting in school marking books the next I was in the back of a police van.

“That was in December 2011 and I haven’t been allowed back in school since. It’s been absolutely horrific.”

Richard, a dad of two, was cleared of all 10 charges against him after a two-week trial.

A 16-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had accused him of kissing her in a cupboard, putting his hands down her trousers and groping her breasts.

But the design and technology teacher said she had invented the story.

He told Lincoln court: “The girls she wanted to be with were quite a promiscuous bunch. I believe she wanted to be a part of the team.”

Richard, of Welton, Lincs, who is still suspended from his Lincoln school pending a disciplinary hearing, said .

He added: “It is the only way that you can give protection to staff.”

 

Click on the link to read Should Classrooms Be Fitted With Surveillance Cameras?

Click on the link to read Schools Putting Spy Cameras in Toilets and Change Rooms

Male Teachers Beware!

August 10, 2012

 

What message does this send to male teachers?

Virgin Australia has been accused of treating male passengers like paedophiles after it made a man swap seats because he was beside two unaccompanied minors.

The company has defended the policy as in the interests of children.

Sydney fireman Johnny McGirr, 33, said he was flying home from Brisbane in April when he took his seat next to two boys he estimated to be between 8 and 10 years old.

He was assigned the window seat but sat in the aisle seat so the two boys could look out the window.

However, a flight attendant approached him just as passengers were asked to put on their seatbelts, asking him to move.

Mr McGirr said when he asked why, he was told, “Well you can’t sit next to two unaccompanied minors.”

“She said it was the policy and I said, ‘Well, that’s pretty sexist and discriminatory. You can’t just say because I’m a man I can’t sit there,’ and she just apologised and said that was the policy.

“By this stage everyone around me had started looking.”

Mr McGirr said the attendant then asked a fellow female passenger, “Can you please sit in this seat because he is not allowed to sit next to minors.”

“After that I got really embarrassed because she didn’t even explain. I just got up and shook my head a little, trying to get some dignity out of the situation,” he said.

Click here to read my post about the absence of male teachers in public schools

Are Male Teachers Subject to Sexual Discrimination?

June 30, 2012

I believe that it is very hard for male teachers to get a job in the public system. Often public schools are female dominated, to the point where a token male would have some effect on the staff-room dynamic. I feel that it was a major factor in my inability to secure a job in the public school system. As I recounted in an earlier post:

I applied for 30 Public School positions over the summer and none of these possibilities turned into a job offer. Nobody in the State system was prepared to take me on. Sitting in the job interview, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was leapfrogged because of my gender. I know it seems rich for a male to cry sexism, but the selection panel was nearly always all female and on walking around schools, I noticed that nearly all the teachers were female. In the name of a close-knit staff dynamic, it wouldn’t have been such an easy proposition to disturb the status quo and invite a male into the staff room inner sanctum.

But while males might be discriminated in the public system, I have it on good authority from people high up in other private schools, that males are preferred over females in the private system because they don’t go on maternity leave. So it goes both ways.

Still, after all women went through (and to some extent still do) when it comes to being overlooked for jobs, you can understand why it doesn’t feel right to have a male shouting sexual discrimination:

A MALE primary school teacher has alleged he was the victim of sex discrimination after losing out on a job to a young woman.

Glenn Telfer claims he was the top candidate for a permanent post at an Edinburgh primary after doing the job for several months and earning plaudits from parents and his boss.

But the 55-year-old ended up out of work after the job went to Louise Hunter, 25.

Mr Telfer is taking Edinburgh City Council to an employment tribunal claiming sex and age discrimination.

Click here to read my post about the absence of male teachers in public schools.

Students Should not be Prosecuted for False Allegations

April 10, 2012

Those of you who follow my blog know how concerned I am about the threat of false allegations against teachers. Data has shown that it is one of the major factors for driving potential male teachers away from the profession. I have a friend who was accused of innapropriate touching by a child for doing nothing more than guiding the child’s hand in a handwriting exercise. She did nothing more than help the child hold the pencil correctly and it landed her in hot water, until the child recanted on his original claim.

But as much as I abhor false accusations, I am aware that the role of the teacher is to put the welfare of the child over their own. If students were prosecuted for false claims, it would have dire consequences for the wellbeing of the student population. The threat of prosecution would ultimately deter students from speaking up against teachers who have genuinely molested them. It is already difficult for victims of sexual assault to speak out and name their perpetrators, lets not put any stumbling block that may keep them quiet.

Still, it seems as though I am in the minority of teachers on this one:

Pupils should be routinely reported to the police after making unfounded claims simply to get their own back on teachers, it was claimed.

The NASUWT union said lying schoolchildren “must understand there is a consequence” to making allegations that are “unjust and malicious”.

The comments came as new figures showed the vast majority of claims made against teachers were unsubstantiated.

Data from the NASUWT shows that fewer than one-in-20 allegations of unlawful behaviour made against teachers last year – including assault, sexual abuse and serious threats – resulted in court action.

Addressing the union’s annual conference in Birmingham, activists insisted that pupils who make false claims should be prosecuted.

Ian Brown, a teacher from North East Derbyshire, said: “Schools must have procedures in place where, when allegations are made, the pupil is made aware at the earliest point of the investigation, through their parents if necessary, that if they wish to proceed with the allegation and are found to be lying, then they will face sanctions.

“They must understand there is a consequence in making those allegations if they are found to be unjust, lies and malicious.”

According to figures from the NASUWT, most allegations made against teachers last year failed to result in court action.

Some 103 claims were made, with no further action being taken in 60. Some 39 are yet to be concluded, although the union claim the vast majority are unlikely to ever make it to court.

Just because most claims against teachers fail to lead to conviction doesn’t mean they were erroneous. Protecting the welfare of children is tantamount, even when it comes to the expense of teachers.

As much as I would like to see children punished for any salacious lie, I desperately don’t want any prohibitive regulation that would deter genuine victims from seeking justice from their perpetrator.

 

The Absence of Male Teachers in Public Schools

April 5, 2012

I always wanted to teach at a public school. I liked the idea of trying to help students from low-income families.

During my University training I worked at one such school. I witnessed some very heartbreaking stories. One child had just lost her father (he was shot during a botched drug deal), whilst another was forced to live with her grandparents while her parents underwent drug rehabilitation. While I realise none of this is new, it was extremely fulfilling for me to provide good humour and a helping hand to those that have had to endure a great deal of hardships.

But there was one problem with this dream of mine – nobody would give me a job!

I applied for 30 Public School positions over the summer and none of these possibilities turned into a job offer. Nobody in the State system was prepared to take me on. Sitting in the job interview, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I was leapfrogged because of my gender. I know it seems rich for a male to cry sexism, but the selection panel was nearly always all female and on walking around schools, I noticed that nearly all the teachers were female. In the name of a close-knit staff dynamic, it wouldn’t have been such an easy proposition to disturb the status quo and invite a male into the staff room inner sanctum.

Instead, I took up a Private school position (for a lot less pay).

That’s why I am not surprised to read that male teachers are more likely to be working in the Private school system:

AUSTRALIA’S public schools are in the grip of a man drought.

But it’s raining men in the non-government sector, where the number of male teachers has grown 25 per cent since 2001.

At the same time, the number of male teachers has dropped 2 per cent at the nation’s public schools, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

Schools have struggled to attract male teachers to the female-dominated profession.

Teachers can earn more money in the non-government sector but there can also be more demands outside school hours, such as Saturday sport.

The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities said the national trend was reflected at the state’s schools but they also had a very low resignation rate.

Last year there were 15,274 male teachers at public schools, representing about 27 per cent of teaching staff.

In 2001, male teachers made up about 31 per cent. There were 9734 male teachers in the non-government sector – about 30 per cent of the teaching workforce. In 2001, male teachers represented 23 per cent.

A department spokesman said strategies were in place to recruit more male teachers but quality was more important than gender.

I agree that quality is more important than gender. However, I’m not sure how well we measure quality teachers in the first place.

Facebook and Teachers: How Evil Predators are Ruining it For the Rest of Us

January 25, 2012

It sickens me to read about teachers misusing their privileges and being accused of engaging in inappropriate dealings with students. Similarly, it upsets me no end that these horrendous people end up making life even harder for well-meaning, caring and decent teachers.

Male teachers will be completely aware with what I am saying. It is hard to be a male teacher (especially Primary teacher) in an age where there are daily stories doing the rounds about teacher sexual abuse. We have to be careful to the point of obsession. Whilst female teachers wouldn’t hesitate to talk to a student alone behind closed doors, a male teacher cannot afford to. Whilst female teachers cuddle and get kids to sit on their laps without the slightest of hesitation, male teachers wouldn’t even extend their hand for a handshake. I am not trying to complain about this. In fact, I am a big advocate of these rules. It’s the fear of being falsely implicated that makes it a struggle.

And it’s not just male teachers who are effected by these evil people. They have also taken technology like social media, which I hear has incredible benefits as an educational tool, and prevented good, hard-working teachers from freely using it to assist their students.

One in 10 misconduct cases from schools involved teachers using social networking sites like Facebook to start inappropriate relationships with their pupils, it was reported.

n 43 of the 336 cases referred to the General Teaching Council for England last year for “unacceptable professional conduct”, teachers had used online forums, emails and websites like Facebook and Twitter to contact children.

A total of 14 were suspended and 18 were given prohibition orders, according to the Guardian.

The figures also revealed a wide variation in school policy over social networking websites with some banning teachers from having accounts while others allow staff to be “friends” with pupils.

The GTC registrar, Paul Heathcote, told the Guardian: “Often the use of social media by teachers can be positive and make a valuable contribution to a teacher’s practice, to pupils or to the school.

“Only if the use of social media by a teacher is relevant and serious enough to potentially affect a teacher’s registration is it likely to progress to a hearing.”

I would argue that it has become too risky to use Facebook as an educational tool between teacher and student. And we know exactly who to blame for that.

There is no Need to Sort Out the Gender Imbalance in Teaching

December 26, 2011

There is a disproportionate number of female primary teachers to males and there always will be. Instead of manipulating the numbers and offering incentives for males to join up, how about we look for teachers based on quality rather than gender? As much as it would be nice to have more men taking up primary teaching, I am not certain it is a position which men have an interest in. Many of my friends would sooner collect the dole than sign up to be a teacher. Whilst I love my job very much, most men don’t understand how why I selected my profession over the myriad of alternatives I had to choose from.

I love the position male teacher, Rocco Marchionda, takes on this issue:

Rocco Marchionda is a bit of an oddity.

At a glance, his kindergarten classroom at Merrill Elementary School in Oshkosh looks like any other song-filled, activity-oriented room of 5- and 6-year olds.

The unusual part is Marchionda himself: He’s a man. Teaching kindergarten.

“Pretty much everyone I’ve ever worked with is female. I can’t imagine what it would be like to teach with another male,” he said.

But that doesn’t seem to bother local educators as long as the teacher does a good job.”At the end of the day, the point is how the teaching is getting done and how the students are learning,” said Marchionda, who has been in the profession 13 years.

Marchionda said he became a kindergarten teacher because “in no other grade have I seen children grow so much.”

While educators want better diversity in their schools, Inda said she doesn’t believe the imbalance is a problem.”The most critical piece in a classroom teacher is not whether they’re male or female. It’s their ability to be a great teacher,”Jean Inda (director of professional education programs) said. “The worst thing we could do is encourage more males to go into elementary education if they’re not comfortable there.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Lack of Male Teachers Not Responsible for Boys in Gangs

September 3, 2011

I think the experts have it all wrong when it comes to the lack of male teachers in Primary schools.  Sure, the male teachers currently working in the primary/elementary system are generally doing a great job, especially in teaching boys, but there are legitimate reasons why male teachers are not lining up to teach.

It was great to read a blog post by writer and educator Katharine Birbalsingh, who dispels the far-fetched assumptions made about the lack of male primary teachers :

Only 12.4 per cent of the primary school workforce is male. 27 per cent of primary schools in Britain are staffed entirely by women. And in secondary schools, only 37.5 per cent of teachers are male. In an age where some fathers have so little to do with their children, these statistics are seen to be scandalous. Clearly this must explain why some of our boys end up in gangs, why boys underachieve at GCSE in comparison to girls – a gap that widened to record level this year – and why chaos reins in our classrooms. Or does it?

Ms. Birbalsingh goes on to conclude that whilst male teachers have a positive effect on male students, the real issue is the fathers of these students.

Sure, having more men in our schools would be a good thing. And absent fathers is a bad thing. But no teacher can really ever replace a missing father. And that’s where the problem for our boys lies on the whole. What we need are families. Indeed, not too long ago, when ordinary families were more the norm, when fathers were present, male teachers hardly existed, and our boys were doing just fine. So are the schools really to blame for the underachievement of our boys? I would think not. I would think the onus is on our broken families.

My view is that the obsession for male teachers is unhealthy.  Men just don’t seem to be interested in taking up teaching.  My former classmates just assume that I fell into teaching and that my grades must have been so poor that I didn’t have much of an option.  Whilst this couldn’t be further from the truth, it does tell us a bit about the average man’s attitude to teaching – there is no interest in the profession whatsoever.  Especially teaching children under the age of 13.

And I ask you, who would you rather have teaching your son, a diligent, professional and passionate female teacher or a male teacher who reluctantly signed up because the Government were offering cash incentives too good to refuse?

I love teaching at the Primary level and wouldn’t swap my job for any other.  I know other male teachers who feel the same way.  But the reality is, men just don’t want to teach.  We can’t expect them to do something they just don’t want to do.

My school doesn’t even have a male toilets.  The male staff members of our school are forced to use the disabled toilets when they need to go.  As sad as that sounds, it’s hard to justify building a toilet in the current climate.


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