Where are the Male Teachers?

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chalkboardYou've had to have noticed it. No matter what grade your child is in, male teachers are a minority. In younger grades, they are almost non-existent. An interesting article on Babble.com on the shortage of male teachers ponders a big question: How will my son ever learn that fathers aren't the only men in the world who are supposed to care about children?

The 800-lb gorilla in the room is the fear that many parents have about child molesters. With the majority of these predators male, it's impossible not to make a connection. The other issue is that of gender roles; women have traditionally cared for kids. So while other professions once dominated by women like nursing, have made the transition, rates of male teachers, especially in younger grades, haven't caught up.

But these male teachers are missing, particularly when it comes to how children interpret gender and responsibility.

Writer LJ Williamson takes the words out of my mouth: "I'm grateful that my children have a caring, committed father in their lives. But he's just one man. Without role models, I wonder, how will my son ever learn that fathers aren't the only men in the world who are supposed to care about children? Worse yet, will he internalize the message that because he is male, he is not capable of being entrusted with the care of children? I want my son to know that there are real options for men between the simplified extremes of good father and evil predator."

Why do you think there is such shortage of male teachers?

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