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.