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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP, ICBC target speeders and aggressive drivers

Hotspots include Sooke Road, Veterans Memorial Parkway and Colwood Corners

Youth riding high after Sidney re-opens skate park

Skate park, tennis courts, volleyball court and multi-use court proved popular on the weekend

One person taken to hospital after crash on Elk Lake Drive

Emergency vehicles are blocked access to the area for about 30 minutes

Peninsula farm stands open for business with COVID-19 restrictions

Growers hopeful shoppers will support local farms

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Pregnant B.C. woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

Michelle Hunter said it was like a horror movie when caught COVID-19

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

B.C. teacher reprimanded for sharing homophobic and sexist memes, making racist comments

Klaus Hardy Breslauer was accused of making a laundry list of concerning decisions as a science teacher

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

Most Read