Male versus female teachers

Written by julie maria anderson
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Male versus female teachers
Research shows that boys often do better academically with a male teacher. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks)

Many students experience instruction from both male and female teachers. A 2006 study by the National Education Association showed that preschool and elementary school children are taught by 75 per cent more female than male teachers. Typically, there are an increase in male teachers at the high school and college levels.

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Current Data

In 2006, the National Education Association released data on male and female teachers. Men accounted for less than 25 per cent of all teachers in United States public schools. Kansas has the largest percentage of male teachers at 33 per cent, and Mississippi and Arkansas both have the lowest percentages at about 18 per cent. Historically, there have always been more women than men going into the education field.

Why More Female Teachers?

Females as a group are more drawn than men to careers that involve working with elementary and preschool children. The National Education Association survey cited on Edutopia.com showed that more men than women stated that salary is a significant factor in them pursuing other, often more lucrative careers than teaching.

For example, a Seattle newspaper said in December 2005 that in the Seattle area alone, according to the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, men take jobs as administrators and superintendents, with 81 per cent of area superintendents being male. The same articles says that at the University of Washington, only 12 per cent to 15 per cent of the students in the elementary education program are men.

Advantages of Male Teachers

A 2006 study in Education Next, by the Hoover Institute, and conducted by Thomas Dee, an economics professor at Swarthmore College, found that boys learn better from male teachers. The study states that having a teacher of the opposite sex hinders a boy's academic progress. Boys were less likely to be seen as disruptive in a class with a male teacher. Male teachers are more likely to include games and competition in their teaching methods.

Advantages of Female Teachers

The same 2006 study conducted by Thomas Dee found that girls learn best from female teachers. Women often teach in ways that may fit girls better, such as sitting at desks and using worksheets for learning. More female teachers than male expect a quiet and orderly classroom, which girls appreciate.

Male or Female?

Most students will end up being educated by primarily female teachers. In the middle and high school years, they will probably have a few male teachers. Both males and females bring different approaches and techniques to learning styles.

Experiencing both male and female teachers may be best for students so that they can experience the advantages that both sexes bring to the classroom and a wider variety of teaching methodology.

Because research shows that young boys may learn best with male teachers, the educational field has been stepping up efforts to recruit male teachers. Websites such as menteach.org and the Call Me Mister male teacher recruitment program promote teaching as a desirable career for men.

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