Male teachers are now an endangers species, with only sixteen per cent of staff identifying as male in Queensland state primary schools.
This number is down from a low nineteen per cent since last year.
Queensland’s Association of State School Principal’s President, Michael Fay, says poor pay rates and a selective view of the teaching profession are to blame for the slide.
Michael Fay: “One of the issues, I think, is that the remuneration for teaching isn’t as great as in some other areas, particularly in mining at the moment. But it’s also, I think, a perception that there might be a community feel that males aren’t the most common type of person in the classroom situation.”
Men are also reportedly fearful of being labelled predatory or pedophilic for working with young children.
The stigma comes after a string of global scandals involving male teachers, which has cast suspicion on the profession.
But Mr Fray says it’s still important to have both sexes represented in the classroom.
Michael Fay: “Well, I think it’s a reflection of wider society, where children are going to be exposed to both males and females. In some families, I guess you have single-parent families on both sides, with only one sex at home.”
Queensland’s Teachers’ Union President Kevin Bates agrees, but says society shouldn’t focus on the imbalance on gender.
Kevin Bates: “I think we want to address this issue in terms of it’s really important to have quality teachers in front of the classroom, rather than have a debate about whether the gender of those teachers is male or female. It’s incredibility important that right across Queensland, with a requirement for 443 extra teachers every year, we make sure we’ve got a supply of teachers who can go anywhere in Queensland to teach students.”
The Queensland College of Teachers has commissioned a review to examine the reasons people choose teaching as their first profession.
When published, Mr Bates says the review will aid educatino employers who are looking to recruit more male staff.
Kevin Bates: “It’s an important piece of research and what we know nationally is that we’re facing a significant issue with the supply of teachers into the future; and this question about why are people choosing to become teachers, or more importantly, why they’re not choosing to become teachers will be an important part of that information that we need to understand where we’re going in the future in terms of teaching.”
Chloe Ranford, QUT News.