Primary principals seek more real men

NZ Herald February 05, 2008

Many primary school principals believe male primary teachers should be heterosexual, rugby-playing “real men” if they want to be good role models, new research has found. One respondent in the study – being published in international journal Gender and Education – referred to the “limp” handshakes of two male teachers who appeared ineffectual and wussy when interviewing for jobs. In that case, strong females were hired instead. The findings come amid repeated calls to raise the proportion of male primary school teachers, which fell from 42 per cent in 1956 to just 18 per cent in 2005.

….The survey was sent to 250 randomly selected primary principals nationally, of which 169 responded. While the initial survey was sent out in 2005, the paper is being published this year. The majority replied that more male role models were needed – a view shared by 94 per cent of the male principals who responded and 87 per cent of the female principals. The main reason was to meet the needs of single-parent children. Seven per cent specifically mentioned the need for a “father figure”. Sports leadership was the second most cited reason why more male role models were needed in schools. Just 29 per cent added the proviso that a male role model also needed to be a good teacher.