Last week a Primary school principal, Paddy Ford, spoke up about the shortage of male teachers in New Zeland Primary schools. saying:
“With some of the little boys that we’ve got, we need some more positive role models,”
“We just need to encourage men and let them know it’s a fantastic job.”
Ministry of Education figures show just 12 percent of primary school teachers are male.
One of the reasons that has been sighted for this shortage is that men do not feel safe in the classroom because of the risk of students falsely accusing them of sexual misconduct.
No one on the NZ media asked what can be done to help make the classroom a safe working environment for males.
If females said they felt unsafe in a particular industry, you can imagine the mainstream media raising hell until there were ministerial inquiries, accusations of sexist boys’ clubs and finally quotas put in place, so the industry was forced to hire people based on gender rather than talent.
I contacted the Ministry of Education and asked what steps the Ministry is taking to ensure teaching children is a safe environment for males, they replied:
“The safety of teachers in the education workplace is the employer’s responsibility managed through a combination of employment practice, support for staff, policy, and guidance from sector groups such as the New Zealand School Trustees Association.”
This seems to be a long-winded way of saying they have no solutions to protect male teachers in the workplace. They also said:
“..the most important factor in lifting student achievement is the quality of teaching rather than the gender of the teacher.”
Which is true in every industry, but try saying that to feminists who believe in a patriarchy that is preventing women from entering male-dominated fields rather than the actual reason, that the biology and physiology of men and women are suited and attracted to different industries.
Of course quality is more important than gender, but when there is a shortage of females in STEM fields, the industry is expected to do everything possible to address this imbalance.
I am not suggesting there should be a quota so more male teachers are hired. I would just like to see the media here ask some real questions that might go towards addressing one of the issues men are concerned with when considering teaching as a career.
I asked Paddy Ford, Principal of Balclutha Primary School, what has been done to make sure men feel safe working as teachers. Paddy said:
“In my experience nothing has been done but then I haven’t gone looking for it either.”
I also asked if there are policies or guidance from the NZ School Trustees Association in relation specifically to the safety of males in the teaching workplace. Paddy replied:
“You would have to ask them. I am not aware of any”
Imagine working in an environment where you have the threat of false sexual abuse hanging over your head daily, knowing that a disgruntled child’s word could be taken as the truth.
This is a workplace safety issue and no one seems to know how to tackle the problem. I can’t help feeling that if the genders were reversed there would be more discussion and proactive solutions.