The general image of a teacher is a woman. Data shows that more than 80% of school teachers —from kindergarten to high school — are women. In a survey of 90 educators, only 20% of the respondents were men. But the majority felt that there should be more men in teaching to ensure gender diversity in education.
Then why are there so few men in the education sector? While many feel the pay is not lucrative enough, another reason given is that women are more nurturing. This typecasting must stop.
If we are to raise a more sensitive generation, we must raise our boys differently. The attitude change must begin at home. Boys must take their share of household chores and to be taught that girls too aspire of careers and financial freedom. Only then will they learn to accept and celebrate strong women.
Next, schools must employ more men as teachers. Irrespective of gender, teachers must be paid better to attract better talent. There have been cases where many men view being a teacher in a school as a secondary job and focus on a side business or tutoring as the primary source of income. This needs to be stopped.
Another problem is the fear of sexual abuse. With many cases being reported today, this is an issue that must be dealt with. The school must create an atmosphere of trust and safety, irrespective of gender.
Finally, we need to change the attitude towards teaching, which is that it is a low-status and low-paying job. How often have we heard that it is perfect for women because of the long leaves and flexibility it offers. But there is more to teaching. What matters is the quality of teaching and not the gender.
To paraphrase Emma Waston, both men and women should feel free to be sensitive and strong. Here is hoping that we see more sensitive and strong men teaching in our schools in the future.
COURTESY – THE HINDU