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Canberra men don’t want to be teachers

By johnboy - 10 October 2010 220

The Canberra Times notes that the ACT has the lowest percentage of male teachers in Australia and that number’s dropping.

The Department of Education and Training’s 2009-10 annual report showed government schools had even fewer men than the territory overall, with the ratio of male to female staff at 22per cent to 78per cent, which has remained constant for the past two years.

However, in spite of the imbalance, the department has no plan to encourage more men into the ranks of teaching.

”The DET’s focus is on recruiting quality teachers, rather than specifically targeting men,” a spokesman said.

Anyone want to speculate as to why?

What’s Your opinion?

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220 Responses to
Canberra men don’t want to be teachers
lumnock 6:26 pm 10 Oct 10

I’m in the final year at Uni of Canberra in Secondary Education, and not just is there a noticeable lack of male teachers, but the vast majority that I see are doing P.E teaching. Makes employment prospects for myself look decent, but worrying sign of things to come potentially.

BerraBoy68 6:09 pm 10 Oct 10

I’m thinking about becoming a teacher here in the ACT but am having second thoughts. As someone on a very good salary in the corporate world and having had more 25 years real life experience since leaving school I thought I may actually have had something to contribute to the classroom. So, for me, taking on teaching would entail a major pay-cut but one I could be willing to take as a life choice. However, as I also have a family to support and don’t have a spare 3 years to do a B.Ed, the best route into the profession for me is the Grad Dip in Teaching (part-time).

What I’m finding, however, is that the teachers I talk to about my plans tell me they look down their noses at people with this qualification as being sub-standard teachers. They totally ignore my BA in history and sociology as well as a Masters degree and the fact that I’ve lived a lot longer then them and may actually have some life skills that I can pass on to kids. On top of that, only this week I’ve heard stories about parents actually telling their kids schools (Primary schools, admittedly) that they specifically do not want their kids in a class with a male teacher just in case the kid has an accident and has to be taken by the teacher to the toilet!

In short,all this is important to me in re-thinking my plans to become a teacher as the attitude of both current teachers and parents (and through them their kids) towards people such as myself entering the profession is almost totally negative, so why bother!?

DJ 6:00 pm 10 Oct 10

I found the comment “Bring on performance based pay I say! That might bring the men in. They like to compete!” very interesting.

Would you add a bonus to your normal salary based on the results the students achieve? Isn’t that recieving a benefit from other teachers performing well and making you a slave to their professionalism?

Do you measure before and after results and how? What about a situation where you have one or more students that perform at a lower than average standard? Does your pay go down as a result?

Lazy I 5:34 pm 10 Oct 10

Inappropriate said :

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

Spot on, every male teacher is only one disgruntled female student away from a ruined career/reputation.

Woody Mann-Caruso 5:32 pm 10 Oct 10

It worries me that I get paid more as a desk jockey in the public service than the top pay scale of a school principal. Supervise 30 staff? You’re a Band 1 Branch Manager, with a nice little team of EL2s and EL1s to help you. Take responsibility for educating 30 kids? Well, you’re on your own, and the salary is more attractive than if you were working full-time at Aldi – just.

Gerry-Built 4:23 pm 10 Oct 10

Personally, I also think men generally have a lower tolerance for and ability to deal with poor classroom behaviour, so the chances of firstly attracting, and subsequently retaining male teachers is lower. Particularly when ‘the system’ provides limited ways to deal with students who are ongoing behaviour problems, and they are simply returned to their classes after a period of suspension (at worst).

A Classroom Teacher at the top of the pay scale receives pay equivalent to a mid-range APS 6, so pay is an issue too.

grunge_hippy 3:42 pm 10 Oct 10

80% of young male teachers are shit IMO. They want to be the kids friends rather than a teacher, therefore the kids walk all over them. Like Pommy bastard said in a long winded pompous way, there is no recourse for discipline and consequences anymore and kids know that. moreover, parents know that and constantly make excuses for their children’s behaviour. when I was a kid, if the parents got called, that meant big trouble. These days it means big trouble for the teacher because usually the parent gets up the teacher for picking on their poor child. then you’ve got the whole pedo aspect, the parents might think the male teacher is praying on their kid. No wonder they aren’t teaching.

Also, a lot of males don’t want to teach the lower grades. There are definitely more males in high school/college.

the old school male teachers are either past it and don’t care any more or have gotten the hell out. Its funny, during my primary schooling here in the ACT in the 80’s, I had only about 2 female teachers, the rest were male. You definitely don’t see that any more.

don’t even get me started on the pay aspect. I am 11 years out of uni, already been at the top of my pay scale for several years and unless I want to be an executive teacher (deputy etc) there is no more pay increases bar the EBA agreements. I have even completed my masters and it means squat. Bring on performance based pay I say! That might bring the men in. They like to compete!

bd84 3:18 pm 10 Oct 10

p1 said :

Inappropriate said :

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

These are the three biggest reasons I didn’t go into teaching.

Just add in the political correct world gone mad that censors the curriculum to the useless topics and creates a system that prevents teachers from being able to properly control and discipline the students. 3:17 pm 10 Oct 10

p1 said :

Inappropriate said :

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

These are the three biggest reasons I didn’t go into teaching.

Same. I have a very clear personal defanition of what is right and wrong when it comes to ethics and fiddling with kids is a major no no. But What happens if you’re doing your best to teach kids, and some silly kid develops a hate of you for whatever reason and suddenly you find yourself acccused of something you would never do? I just don’t think it would be worth it. Then there are violent, agressive kids, kids who bring knives to class, kids who are not afraid of the only discipline you can dish out which is a detention of visit to the principle’s office.

I mean there are frequent stories in the media of kids attacking teachers, teachers left with permenant injuries and their careers over. Frankly I am incredibly surprised that the teachers are not directly suing kids or having kids charged or getting AVOs against kids. For some stupid reason it seems that teachers are supposed to put up with that crap. I think if kids are going to to push boundries in a non harmful way, fine. But violence is not acceptable. If a kid attacks a teacher, verbally or physically, then the legal concequences of restraining orders, suspension and legal charges should be used. None of this pandering to the kid.

As for kids that make flase accusations against teachers, that’s it, you’re out of the mainstream education system for good.

I may sound a bit extreeme here, a bit harsh, but really, wouldd you accept kids coming into your work place, hassling you, threatening you and then physicallly attacking you? Heck no, you’d be calling the police straight away and expecting those kids to be dealt with harshly.

Duckrage 2:44 pm 10 Oct 10

PB, I don’t know about the UK system, but exams here certainly aren’t getting easier. As parents & Uni lecturers constantly tell me, we (ie, NSW & ACT) expect ore from year 12 essays than fourth year undergrads.

Instead of slamming the teachers, how about we focus more on the society that generates these children, accepts & encourages their behaviours, and then makes excuses for them.

Teachers are expected to be more highly qualified now than ever before (to the point that when they become fulltime staff they need to undergo an ‘probationary’ period, where they have to collect evidence akin to an accreditation system. The Institute of Teachers ( requires assignments akin to 4th year Education degree portfolios in order to become a registered teacher (like a CPA, in some respects).

I’ve (thankfully) not taught in the UK, but a lot of what I hear sounds absolutely demoralising.

As for why more blokes aren’t in teaching, it’s simple. At one stage about ten years back, there was an instruction from a State Dept that essentially meant that a child who had fallen over was not allowed to be picked back up by a male member of staff. That restriction still exists to a lesser extent today.

Inappropriate got the nail on the head (although seriously, the pay isn’t that bloody bad – teachers just like to whinge a lot).

Dr Strange 2:37 pm 10 Oct 10

Inappropriate said :

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

I love teaching, thought about and looked into it but this pretty much sums it up. Even have undergrad and postgrad study in science/maths/IT which I’m told they can’t recruit. Never get me in a school class room – not work the grief or pay cut.

p1 2:09 pm 10 Oct 10

Inappropriate said :

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

These are the three biggest reasons I didn’t go into teaching.

Pommy bastard 1:46 pm 10 Oct 10

As an ex-teacher, not here admittedly, but in the UK, I would add these thoughts (based on the UK system.) The above , plus.

Successive generations of children are being betrayed by a destructive ethos that promotes low expectations, indiscipline and lack of academic rigour in the classroom. Ever higher grades are not an indicator of success. They are a facade to cover inadequacy.

The real problem is the educational culture, so full of sloppiness and sentimentality, dumbing-down and deceit. Bad behaviour is tolerated too easily, poor performance covered-up. Yes there is racism in the system, but it usually comes from guilt-ridden white liberals who allow young non white students to remain trapped in the downward cycle of failure.

We are all meant to be professional cheerleaders for the system. Dissent is regarded as a form of heresy. In one sense I can understand the outlook of my school.

The headteachers and governors inhabit a competitive world where any negative publicity can be seen as a threat to school’s status, funding and league table position.

The overall educational culture – created by politicians, bureaucrats and theorists – which has let down our children so badly.

For a start, it is obvious that exams have become far easier in recent years.

The same insidious process applies to subjects and qualifications.

Meanwhile, areas of study such as modern languages, science and history are in decline simply because they are more demanding. There is now a chronic lack of robustness in the classroom, reflected in the increasing use of coursework rather than exams.

Again this makes life easier for pupils but it also undermines the integrity of their achievement, for they can keep on retaking their modules until they reach the desired grade. Furthermore, they are given intensive guidance and support by their teachers.

The same feebleness can be seen in the absence of proper discipline in the classroom. Recalcitrant pupils know that schools have precious few tough sanctions against unruly behaviour, particularly because heads are reluctant to use permanent exclusions for fear of being reprimanded by the education authority.

In particular, heads and teachers can be left in an impossible position over taking tough action against some pupils because of anxiety over potential accusations of racism. But such an approach does those students no favours at all, for it sends out the dubious message that they cannot be expected to be held to the same standards demanded of other pupils, making a mockery of the very notion of equality.

The defenders of the status quo are living in fantasy. If the system is so good, then why do universities and employers complain so bitterly about low levels of skills, numeracy and literacy?

Inappropriate 1:36 pm 10 Oct 10

It’s simple: shit pay, poor career progression, and the constant threat of being labelled a kiddy-fiddler.

Fiona 12:57 pm 10 Oct 10

the rotation system where you have to move schools after x years?

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