The first thing you need to know is that at some point I may offend you. I genuinely don’t mean to, but after thirteen years of working in education I have realised when it comes to discussing gender issues in teaching, you’re going to upset someone.
I believe it also important to know that as a straight, white, middle class male, I know I already have a huge advantage in life. Truth be told, when it comes to social advantage, I know I am in the luckiest category. This piece isn’t about whinging or complaining about my experience as a male teacher, it is about continuing to push the discussion of the state of education in Australia today.
The second thing you need to know is that teaching is incredibly awesome, creative and rewarding. Being a part of kids learning how to do or discover something that have never considered before is truly amazing.
But, there is also a fundamental issue with how we view teaching and education today. Particularly with our view of men who venture into this world of wonder.
My negative experiences as a male teacher started the day I heard I had been accepted into my university course. Upon opening up my envelope with an offer in it and heading out to celebrate with friends something unexpected happened: I was ridiculed for wanting to work with young kids.
Which became something of the norm for the next few years.
Cue jokes about finger painting, babysitting, touching kids, not being able to “do” so instead I “teach” and missing out on my “real” career.
It’s safe to say the jokes were no longer funny the moment I first started hearing them.
Since I first started moving into the world of teaching I have discovered that many, many men and women hold really strong perspectives of me as a male teacher.
I should definitely teach PE.
I should definitely be teaching older kids (because blokes can't really relate to little Preps...it's more of a 'mothering' thing).
I should definitely know more about science than the women on staff.
I should definitely be aspiring to be a principal.