Archive for Thursday, January 4, 2007

Male teachers gravitate toward upper grades

January 4, 2007

A Lansing student's chance of learning from a male teacher increases with each passing year.

Figures at Lansing Middle School and Lansing High School show higher percentages of males occupy classrooms in Lansing's upper grades and are more in line with the state average.

In a study released by the National Education Association in November, Kansas ranked highest in the nation with males making up 33.4 percent of the state's public school teachers.

At LMS, 10 male teachers account for 25.6 percent of a staff of 39 teachers. And at LHS, 15 male teachers represent 30 percent of the school's 50 teachers.

The NEA study said the prevailing philosophy to explain why more males gravitate toward the upper grades was that men choose careers in teaching to "teach the subject," while women enter teaching to nurture and develop children.

"I can speak from a personal standpoint as to why I went that way," LHS principal Steve Dike said of his tenure as a middle and high school science teacher and now as an administrator. "That's just where I feel comfortable relating to kids. Older is better, for me. I don't know if that's true of most males."

He said programs were needed to encourage males to enter teaching, much like the programs that encourage more females to enter science and medical fields.

While he would like to see more males in the teaching profession, good teachers are good teachers, he said.

"You always hire the best candidate for the job regardless of all the other criteria. You want the best teacher," Dike said. "When you're dealing with quality people, you're still dealing with quality people, regardless of gender."

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