Teacher’s Academy Hopes to Close Gap in Teaching Profession
Luke Hutchinson | Staff Writer
Boys and girls raise their hands to ask questions in class, but the odds are a woman is there to answer.
Of the 70 students in Teacher’s Academy, only nine are male. Teacher’s Academy instructor Marcie Blamer said she is quite familiar with this gender gap in teaching.
“There is no doubt that there are more females than males teaching in education – one quick glance around any school will reveal that to be true,” Blamer said. “When I first came to Mason, there were four to five boys total in Teacher’s Academy. Now I’m seeing double those numbers, which is encouraging.”
Blamer said under certain circumstances, she would prioritize a male application to Teacher’s Academy over a female’s to close the gap.
“If I was out of space in my program, and I had to make decisions between candidates, gender would not be the first factor,” Blamer said. “However, if candidates were equal in all other aspects, I would prioritize the male student. The shortage of males in education, specifically in (a child’s) earlier years, is critical for so much of the (national) population.”
Senior Madison Geissler, who has been in Teacher’s Academy since junior year, said the lack of male role models during many children’s developing stages leaves young boys with a false perception of teaching.
“At MECC, there is only like one male teacher, so I think young boys don’t really see as many males teaching, and then, they think of it as a female-only job,” Geissler said. “Females tend to be more nurturing and caring, which is why as you go up in grades, you see more male teachers in the high school.”
Senior Kit Kresky works with kids in the district through Teacher’s Academy and said the demand for male role models, such as teachers, needs to be fulfilled, for it is the only way to raise a healthy kid.
“There are so many young kids that either don’t have a father that’s around or their father isn’t good – like right now I’m tutoring a little girl who’s dad is in prison because he’s a thief,” Kresky said. “I think it’s really important that males influence them when they’re so young because that’s a major part of everyone’s life – your dad builds your character.”
Senior Nathan David said once more male teachers fill the education void, kids will see themselves represented in the classroom and become interested in the profession.
“I joined Teacher’s Academy to make a difference because my favorite teachers – which happen to all be guys – have all made huge impacts on me,” David said. “Specific teachers are kind of like extra father figures to me, and they propel me to join things like teaching and track.”
Blamer said she struggles closing the gap due to her inability to specifically target male students, a problem that Miami University has come to her for help overcoming as well.
“I don’t have a way to find the guys that want to be in Teacher’s Academy – it’s like throwing a fishing line in and seeing what I catch,” Blamer said. “Miami has actually asked me to send the names of guys that are interested in teaching so that they can gather scholarship money because they want to grasp these people.”
According to a study by the Center for Practitioner Research at National-Louis University, male teachers of younger students are seen as feminine. The stereotype is based in the belief that because men are supposed to be firm with discipline, male teachers are not masculine for wanting to teach children who are not often well-behaved.
Sophomore Allen Albezargan said he only sees female teachers on television and thinks people would stereotype him if he were in Teacher’s Academy.
“Some people would think it’s weird that a guy is teaching a bunch of little kids and probably consider him to be effeminate,” Albezargan said.
Upset with the power of the gender gap, senior Dillon Davis said he takes pride in being a part of Teacher’s Academy as a male and encourages others to do the same.
“It’s not that there should be less girls, but there should be more guys to step up and become involved in teaching, because there is obviously a crucial demand for them,” Davis said.