More men in teaching

There’s been a 52% rise in the number of men applying to be primary school teachers, a profession traditionally 80% female. Explanations given include teaching’s “increasing status” as well as the recession. I’ve heard that status of a profession often increases *as a result* of male involvement, so it would be interesting to know the temporal sequence for this. At any rate, it’s surely a good thing for kids to be exposed to men as well as women in this role. For more, see here. (Thanks, AP!)

3 thoughts on “More men in teaching

  1. i was excited to hear this, too. in fact, i wrote a post for it. but then i thought: it stands to reason that one thing that would happen in a recession is that men would start taking ‘lower status’ jobs, because they have to. and i wonder, would the women who did dominate these low status fields then be pushed back into the home as a result? (i mean, they’re clearly not getting the ‘high status’ jobs instead.) i don’t know for sure that it works this way. but i suddenly felt funny about cheering it, even tho i’d *love* for my son to see some men being carers and nurturers. (but don’t worry: the infants’ school has a male janitor who plays football w the boys, “so they do have a male role-model”!)

  2. Beware the spin: the news article linked to above gives no figures about the *proportion* of applicants who are male.

    It just says that there has been an increase in the *number* of applicants who are male. For this to mean anything about gender, we would need to know whether the number of women applying has also increased and if so by how much. (We would also need a host of other assumptions.)

    The other thing to remember, of course, is that a small increase on an initially small number looks like a big increase when stated as a percentage of that initially small number.

    Part of the job of the TDA is to recruit teachers perceived to be in short supply, and that includes male primary teachers. The BBC has just re-used their press release (see also various other news outlets), which is clearly designed to encourage men to apply.

    The version of the story in The Guardian states: “the total number of would-be trainees increased by more than a third”. So here is the math(s):

    80% of primary teachers currently in post are female, 20% male.

    Assuming that appointments were not gender-biased towards women (which they may well be), lets say that for every 100 applicants in the recent past 80 were women and 20 men.

    The “more than one-third increase” brings our relevant number of applicants up to “more than” 133.

    There has been a “52% increase” in males, so that’s up from 20 to 30.

    The other 103 are women.

    So the proportion of these 133 applicants who are male is: 30/1.33 = 22.5%.

    UP to 22.5% from 20%!

    That strikes me as a small enough percentage difference to be a blip in annual figures.

    No story.

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