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

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Watershed concerns prompt opposition to alternate Malahat routes

Motion submitted to Regional Water Supply Commission opposing highway in watershed

Crews are on scene after a water main break on Goldstream and Strathmore in Langford

Some residences have been evacuated and traffic is being diverted

Remembering Nirvana in Victoria on Cobain’s 52 birthday

Nirvana played one show in Victoria on March 8, 1991 at the Forge

Head-on collision in Saanich draws attention to rural road safety

Saanich says additional road safety measures are already planned or underway

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

Most Read