The Educator's PLN

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Re the problem of keeping male teachers for young children.


I have worked with several male teachers, ll were wonderful and great role models, but they were the exception rather than the rule.

Here is one reason why. The roles of parent and teacher are often muddled.
When children are between 6 and 15 years old parents try to be teachers, to help their children do school type work. In the early years of schooling teachers try to be parents, teaching values, setting bedtimes etc. This confusion between parenting and teaching causes problems. Male teachers do not want to act a parent to a class of children, they want to teach, so may not stay. Women teachers find it easier to act as parent during the early years. But I do not think this is a good thing, and I think that it is us, the teachers, who are most to blame.

We have taken on too many of the jobs that parents should be doing, partly because we do not see harried parents being able to take time to be with their children etc. I think the time has come when we need to hold parents more accountable for their parenting role. Teachers need to step away from parenting - I now that there is a great deal of overlap between roles but we must be clear about whose responsibility is what.

We must give the kids back to their parents, we must make parents understand their role in their child's education. Teachers have taken too much power away from parents. I know that many teachers will scoff at this statement because they do not think parents are involved enough with their child's education. But how are they going to get involved if we don't give them the responsibility of doing so and the opportunities to fulfill their responsibilities?

Let's get clear about who is responsible for what. Sure, I can teach anything and I can even tell a child when to go to bed ( I have been asked to do this on several occasions). But I would rather tell the parent that it is their responsibility to get the child to bed, that it is their responsibility to make sure their child has access to the education they need, that it is their responsibility to 'set the scene' for learning - then it is MY responsibility to actually teach the child, to get the child through whatever school system is in place. And I could promise to do that, and do it well, if parents agreed to take their share of the job of helping children learn.

Sorry, a bit of a rant there, but I want to give back to parents the power to support their child's learning. To do this we have to show them what they can and must do to help children succeed, and give them the opportunities to use their power.

Then maybe we would get more male teachers in kindergarten!

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Comment by Phillip Patrick on March 20, 2010 at 4:42pm
This is a response from Dr Patricia Porter to my discussion post.

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