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Dwindling male teachers in schools


According to the National Report of Malaysia by Ministry of Education, in 2003,
male teachers comprise 33.3 per cent and 36.1 per cent at primary and
secondary school levels respectively. The difference in ratio causes a big gap
between male and female teachers in Malaysian school. Not only in Malaysia,
United States of America also faced the same problem. According to the National
Centre for Education Statistics, women outnumber men in the teaching profession by
approximately three to one in 2006. In 2001, the National Education Association
reported that only 9% of Americas elementary school teachers were men. The lack
of balance can lead to a difference in perceptions about female and male teachers.
(Wood, 2011) However, I do not agree that male teachers should be increased to
reduce the gender gap in schools or to change the perceptions of the society. This
critical essay will further discuss why men do not prefer to be teachers, the
nature suitability of females to be teachers and the quality of good teachers.
According to Oxford Advances Learners Dictionary (2010), dwindling means to
become gradually less or smaller. The definition of man is an adult male human.
(Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, 2010).
First and foremost, men do not like teaching profession because they think that
women are better suited since it involves children (Ng, 2009). This phenomenon
gets the attention of the people when the statistics released by the Malaysian
Ministry of Education stated that there are 70 percent women more than men in
teaching profession. Perception of men is that caring and nurturing children are
not their nature job. Besides, men who enter teaching profession will receive
negative reactions and discouragement from family members. In their family eyes,
men should not enter pink collar jobs which are women dominated occupation
world. Concern about family disapproval for entering a traditionally female
profession and fear of being labelled a paedophile keep men from entering the
field (Anliak & Beyazkurk, 2008). This shows that male is more influence by
nurture in job selection. Thus, men are feared to break the society taboo
although they have the nature quality to step in teaching profession.
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Besides that, teaching profession receives a relatively smaller wages compared
to other professional occupation in the private sector such as doctors, engineers
and dentist. With the increasing living cost in the metropolitan city such as Kuala
Lumpur, a teachers salary is barely enough to make ends meet. To it worse,
teachers are not allowed to take up part-time job according to Education
Ministrys regulations. This situation forces male teachers to give up teaching and
seek other higher income jobs. Low income usually makes mens life hard as a
bread winner of the family. In addition to lower pay, they feel their working status
is lower than those in the male dominated field. Thus, men are not really
interested to be a teacher.

Furthermore, a male primary teacher gives society different perceptions. Lately,
many cases of child abuse and child molestation are done by male teachers.
Men may have fears of being accused of child molesting. For example, if a young
child is upset, a male teacher who demonstrates comfort via physical affection is
much more likely to become suspect than a female teacher. This situation and
parents suspicion may also prevent men from taking up this job. (McWilliam &
Jones, 2005 cited in Wilkins, Gamble, 2004). Of course, there are situations
where children may need comfort or a hug to manage their emotion. The
perception of society really brings a great dilemma to male teachers and this fear
discourages the increase of men involved in the teaching profession.
In addition, when choosing suitable teachers, the interviewers should seek for
passion and dedication and not the academic achievements of the applicants.
What make a good teacher? According to Ingersoll, the quality of a teacher is
determined by his or her personality traits, teaching applications, and level of
academic development. Cramer and Piers (1997) study emphasises two
characteristics of effective teachers: Enthusiasm and being excited about
teaching. Besides, Teaching Commissions report argues that excellent teaching,
which combines passion and academic prowess, has the potential to be the great
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equaliser. This means that by selecting teachers according to their passion will
help to detect more naturally good teachers and increase the standard of
teaching. Therefore, it shows that natural qualities are more important in
selecting a better teacher not the gender of the teacher.
Women are renowned as a natural nurturer rather than men. They obviously
make better teachers. According to Talcott Parsons (1954 cited in Macionis,
2004) women take primary responsibility for managing the household and raising
children. This means they are naturally nurtured to be a good mother. Thus, they
can be a better teacher than men. Teaching is believed as the extension of
motherhood for women. In Griffin & Smiths (1991 cited in Kim & Relfel 2004)
state that in mothering discourse, mothers or teachers are expected to sacrifice
themselves when they love and care for children. Therefore, men are not needed
to be teachers as women make better teachers because they are willing to give
more personal time to show more sympathy to their students. This can be
supported by Delpit (2006 cited in Ali Yilmaz, 2011) who reported that the top ten
important effective teachers characteristics are being empathetic, understanding
students emotions and who knows subject matter and can provide concrete
examples. According to researcher Carol Gilligan, women have a unique ability
to make better moral decisions regarding personal and caring aspects of
development than men. Besides, Carrington et al. (2008) states that students
who had female teachers had more positive attitudes toward school. This further
emphasize that women are naturally better teachers than men. Therefore, men
do not need to be encouraged to enter this field of work.
As a conclusion, teachers have the great responsibility of shaping future
generations. Children must be taught moral values and discipline from young if
they are to become good, law-abiding citizens in the future. To achieve this goal,
we need teachers who have the knowledge and skills are needed for them to
teach the students to succeed. We need teachers who understand that teaching
is a serious commitment, not just an interesting experience. And most importantly,
we do not need to have a not willing male teacher in the school. According to
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Martino and Kehler (2006 cited in Wood, 2011), even if a male teacher can be a
positive role model for his students, schools cannot solve boys diverse
educational social problems by simply providing male teachers in the building.
Cooney and Bittner (2001 cited in Wood, 2011) raise the concern of some
teachers that a poor male role model could do a lot of damage in the classroom
and it is important to be aware that good teaching is critical. In addition, a good
teacher must not necessary to be a male because quality teacher needs natural
passion in teaching. So, we do not need to force male teacher in schools to teach
the future generation. Future generation is very precious to our country as they
are the leaders-to be one day. Therefore, we need to select more naturally good
female teachers to teach our future country leader.
(1207 words)