More male teachers needed
THE ANNUAL 11-PLUS results are now back. The minister has made the announcement, the parents have spoken, the encomiums have been delivered, disappointments expressed and that is that for another year when we shall once again have the results and the events that follow.
This year, these results coincide with a call for more male teachers in the primary school system by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education Senator Harry Husbands. This is a matter that requires our attention, given that females dominate the teaching profession at the primary level.
Senator Husbands was at the time touring the People’s Cathedral Primary School where the chairman of the school board, Paul Williams, reinforced the point. He said that his school tried to have as many male teachers as possible, currently employing six male teachers and 21 female teachers.
Mr Williams justified the need for male teachers on the basis that positive male figures were needed in the lives of these young boys, but it was not easy to attract male teachers, although it was a definite benefit for the boy students.
The principal of the school confirmed that the school’s male students performed well in an environment of discipline and male teachers working with the boys to inculcate certain value systems would help to propel them forward.
These observations are important, given that considerable comment has been made over the years about the reluctance of boys to buy into tertiary level education.
We commend the approach of trying to capture the minds of these youngsters before they have reached the secondary school or are subjected to the iniquitous influences of the blocks.The truth is that many of the boys in our primary schools are highly talented clear-thinking young men who can and will make a significant contribution to this society in the future and we need to capture them early and guide and shepherd them through the traditional and values-influenced systems we have established. If we do not do this, some of these promising young men and, to a lesser extent, young girls, may be waylaid by evil forces.
In the case of the girls, the rebalancing influences and role model characteristics of the large numbers of superb female teachers in our midst have stabilized the values in our young females. We need therefore to induce more male teachers to enter the teaching profession and to work with and provide similar role model influences with our boys.
The raw young male talent is there, but it needs the polish and harnessing that we all need in any endeavour, and those schools that try to encourage and employ male teachers are doing the right thing, for teaching is not a profession only for females. Senator Husbands is also doing the right thing in lending the weight of his ministry to the task of addressing the gender imbalance in the teaching profession.
Female teachers do a superb job in shaping the girls as well as some of the boys; but a mind is a powerful instrument, and the mere presence of more male teachers can save that half of our future that is being so badly damaged by deleterious influences.