The gender teaching gap in B.C. is estimated to hit a 9:1 ratio soon. (Pixabay photo)

The gender teaching gap in B.C. is estimated to hit a 9:1 ratio soon. (Pixabay photo)

Do boys need more male teachers?

Female educators set to make up 90 per cent of teaching staff in B.C. over next few years

Children may have a hard time finding a male role model to look up to in the classroom.

Statistics show women greatly outnumber men as educators, a trend that is seen in classrooms across Greater Victoria.

Dave Eberwein, superintendent of the Saanich School District, recognises that students need to be able to relate to their teachers but does not think biological sex is much of a factor. “The most important thing is having at least one adult a child can relate to, that they trust and that believes in them.”

Regarding gender, he says, “our goal is to hire the best, male or female, we are moving away from binary identity.”

ALSO READ: Teacher shortage leaves B.C. French immersion class learning in English

In 2011, Statistics Canada published some surprising numbers regarding male and female teachers. Only 41 per cent of high school teachers, 16 per cent of all elementary teachers and three per cent of early childhood educators were men. That’s a 20 per cent average and the gap appears to be growing.

A 2016 marking analysis found there was a marking bias against boys and research in the UK has found that young men without male role models are more likely to suffer from depression and leave school without qualifications.

Thomas Dee, from Stanford University, also published a study suggesting that boys do better in classes taught by men.

The number of male teachers is low in Canadian schools, but especially so in B.C.

One Greater Victoria school’s staff list registers only one male teacher out of 22.

The British Columbia Teachers Federation says the only reliable figures available are from the Teachers Pension Plan, which states that almost 80 per cent of teachers in B.C. are women. Presently, the Pension Plan is the only way to assess this data, as figures are not collated by policymakers or school districts.

Experts believe the picture is similar across Canada.

RELATED: BCTF wins grievance over teacher shortage in public schools

Glen Hansman, president of the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) says that it is “important all students have a diversity of teachers.” He states that the BCTF’s highest priority has been to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers in school, and acknowledges, “there has been less of a conversation about gender bias in schools.”

According to Hansman, fewer men are joining the profession, and he predicts that 90 per cent of all teachers will be women in the next few years. The latest statistics regarding teaching graduates in B.C. supports his view, as 90 per cent of new teaching graduates are women.

While some educational experts have concerns, Hansman thinks it is important to recognise that the school system is full of talented female teachers and he does not believe that boys are necessarily being “short-changed.”

There are many factors why men are put off becoming teachers. The perceived low status of the job, low pay and some residual prejudice against men being around children are cited as central reasons.

Hansman also believes that successive governments have shown a hostile attitude towards public servants in general, and teachers in particular, including past decisions that have been ruled as unconstitutional.

“Governments often take advantage of teachers and those in the ‘caring professions’ and B.C. education is chronically under-funded,” he says, adding male high-school students faced with this climate ask themselves, “Why do it?”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Kidspace, which took over the YMCA-YWCA childcare centre at Eagle Creek Village, plans to reopen the Y’s fitness centre as the Eagle Creek Athletic Club in September. (Photo courtesy of Kidpsace)
Former Y fitness centre in View Royal aims to reopen in September

Kidspace taking over both the gym and the childcare facility at Eagle Creek Village

Cheyenne, six, Savannah, three, and Jeremiah Sinclair, 8, were out on walk with their mother on June 4 when they discovered the first of several hundred fish that died after bleach leaked into Reay Creek. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Federal-provincial investigation ongoing into what appears to be a bleach spill

Mural artist Paul Archer will soon begin work on a piece on the rear of a building at 100 Burnside Road West. (Gorge Tillicum Community Association)
Back of Burnside building in Saanich to feature mural of hope and positivity

Artist Paul Archer says subject will inspire memories, depict children’s future, sunshine, flowers

Victoria Truth Centre and Long-term Inmates Now in the Community (L.I.N.C.) Society are hoping to replicate in Langford the format used on Emma’s Farm in Mission, pictured here. (Patrick Penner/Black Press Media)
Victoria Truth Centre hopes to grow transformative justice in Langford

Purchase proposal would see offenders, survivors and families work on organic vegetable farm

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Most Read