Thursday, July 14, 2005

Males Are Strongly Encouraged To Apply

There is a shortage of male teachers in the early elementary grades according to CNN. Some principals are looking for a few good male teachers eager to teach and serve as positive male role models:
When she interviews teaching candidates, principal Laurel Telfer favors the ones who show they have a heart for children, not just solid instructional skills.

And if the best applicant happens to be a man?

That's such a plus that Telfer says she does a "little happy dance."

Only two of the 35 teachers at her school, Rossmoor Elementary in Los Alamitos, California, are men.

"If you're looking at what's best for the students, it's important for them to interact with the two sexes," Telfer said. "The way men work with kids, there's a difference in style and approach. I think students really benefit from having that mix, because as they get to middle school, they're going to have a whole variety of classes. Men help bridge that."

As a new academic year approaches, school districts, education groups and universities are exploring ways to get more men into a field long dominated by women. Their goal is to provide more male role models in class and to diversify the labor pool of dedicated teachers.

The proportion of men in teaching today is at its lowest level in 40 years, according to the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union.

Only 21 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are men. In early grades, the gender ratio is even more imbalanced -- just 9 percent of elementary school teachers are men.
The State of South Carolina has implemented a program that aims to attract black men into classroom teaching:
In South Carolina, Clemson University leads Call Me MISTER, a partnership of nine two-year and four-year schools that helps young black men become public school teachers. The students get academic and peer support, tuition help and internships.

Some of them didn't have a male teacher once during 12 years in public schools.

"There's just a difference -- whether it's in style, voice intonation, just the presence of having a male in the classroom -- that many boys respond to best," said Roy Jones, the program's director.

So far, 15 men have finished the program and begun teaching in South Carolina elementary schools. The goal is to get that number to 200, and groups such as the National Education Association are working with Call Me MISTER leaders on possibly expanding the effort.
I was in the fifth grade before I had my first "man" teacher. He was an outstanding teacher named Mr. Cheek.
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