More Male Teachers Needed - by Allison Pearson

More Male Teachers Needed - by Allison Pearson - Daily Mail

Psycho, H-bomb, Smithy, Railey, Greaser, Doughy, Vodd. No, not a rapper remix of the Seven Dwarves, but the nicknames of real teachers who once taught male acquaintances of mine.
Powerful, sarcastic, funny, eccentric and occasionally sadistic schoolmasters, they are remembered with affection and gratitude decades later.
Such men are an endangered species as teaching rapidly becomes an allfemale profession. How many talented young guys would choose to go near a classroom today when you risk getting sued if you try to stop a boy wrecking your lesson, let alone if you put a warning hand on the shoulder of a girl? Yet the fact is that male authority figures have never been more desperately needed.
According to a shocking new report, some schools have lost control to the point where they are actually expelling pupils to ensure their safety.
Not expelling the bullies, mind you.
Expelling their victims. Staff are sending these shattered kids home because they can 'do nothing to stop them being targeted'.
Imagine what signal that must send out to the self-appointed teenage kings of the Respect jungle. It would never have happened when Psycho and H-Bomb ruled their classrooms with a whim of iron.
The report says schools can't take all the blame. Poor parenting and a lack of discipline at home are a key factor.
It's a theme taken up by David Cameron, who has challenged adults to regain authority over children.
The Tory leader points out that allowing bad behaviour as the price of a quiet life is 'grossly selfish and irresponsible'.
Tough talk, Dave, but what is to be done about it? We can't confiscate 500,000 alienated hoodies from their negligent parents and send them all to take lessons in classical civilisation at Eton.
No, the only hope in the short-term lies in schools laying down the boundaries that are lacking in so many homes. And that means more male teachers with the freedom to act like men.
At a recent Ethnic Community Education conference, Dr Larry Jones said that troubled teenage boys needed to become 'emotionally literate'.
Why? So they can shoot each other, but say sorry afterwards? With respect, I think the last thing a teenage boy needs is lessons in emotional literacy.
He needs structure and hierarchy. He needs an outlet for aggression. He needs a commanding adult to guide him. He needs to be bawled at when he's rude or lazy, because that's what he expects.
He needs a man to teach him how to cast off the comfort of mothering like a snake sheds its skin.
According to the Times Educational Supplement, women teachers now outnumber men by 12 to 1 in schools - a disaster for our underachieving boys.
Yes, women are terrific at the patient social work, which so much of teaching has become in this age of family breakdown.
But boys reaching puberty respond best to firm handling from a master they are slightly in awe of.
Boris Johnson complained last week that men are being scared away from teaching by paedophile hysteria. Even more damaging is the humiliating loss of authority.
One teacher friend tells me that if a rowdy kid refuses to go to see the Head he is no longer allowed to tell the boy to get a bloody move on. He has to utter the designated phrase: "Are you refusing my reasonable request?"
Once the miscreant is in the Head's office, he then has to be asked: "Have you been offered the reasonable request?"
What self-respecting man would want to go through that farcical pantomime? Yet it's just one example of the way that the rights of children have eroded the right of teachers to be in charge.
Is it any wonder that men who have left teaching talk about a corrosive culture of insolence which they were powerless to tackle because they risked getting sacked?

Three of the comments ...

I was one of those male teachers once. Ex-military, fit, strong, a good leader, happily married with a young family... I was a good exemplar for young hoodlums, and I taught in tough schools without any problems. I probably made a difference. One problem was the imbalance of women teachers in schools. By and large they found it hard to control young lads and generally resorted to tears and hysteria. As a male you have to rescue them, and the knock-on effect makes your own job harder. Their pupils found that laughable, of course. The money was peanuts, too! It was fine as pin money for a married woman, but a man could never earn enough to keep a wife and children at a proper level. So..I'm out. My kids are in independent schools where there are plenty of male teachers. We live well, take holidays, and one day we'll have a good retirement. I miss teaching because I was good at it, but it's not a job for a man anymore
- Anon, England

I was one of those male teachers (with a beard - Andrew of Lancaster) and I left. Got sick of being a punching bag for undersized idiots with something to prove. Got sick of not being allowed to teach to proper academic standards. Got sick of having to watch every word and action in case I was accused of paedophilia. Got sick of not being paid enough to support a wife and family at a professional level (great pay for married women - no use if you have to support yourself, let alone others). Got sick of watching discipline breakdown and good kids being betrayed. Got sick of lies and blaming the teacher.
Got sick. Left. I will never go back.
- Corin Keiler-Lloyd, Wolverhampton

You can thank the wonderful PC correct and Human Rights brigade courtesy of the Blairs for the appalling situation in our schools. Male teachers are a dying breed all right and this is at a time when they are most needed. Discipline needs to be restored and collars need to be felt. Some kids need boundaries - more so, if they do not have them at home. A male teacher can be more than a mentor to his charges, he can be the very hero that some young men need and it is a tragedy that he is no longer there. When will this PC rubbish end - we have endured ten years of it and what a disaster it is!
Bac, England


At 6:37 AM, Blogger Penbat said...

Yes I agree that many more male teachers are needed. However, I found Alison's reference to Emotional Literacy to be flippant. It is a far deeper and broader subject than she seems to think. It relates to all kinds of interaction and relationships. I suggest she Google searches on "Emotional Literacy" or "Emotional Intelligence" for more info and maybe visit my website which is relevant to this article:


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