Research tells us that in 50 years Australia will see the death of the male teacher. The implications of this for education and society are profound.
Most people remember at least some of their teachers from primary school. I remember every single one. They had a huge impact on me. They’re probably the reason I became a teacher. My favourite was Mr Romeo. He taught me in Years 5 and 6. He was happy and kind and he made us laugh with silly jokes.
These days Mr Romeo would be an anomaly. Only 18.3% of primary teachers in Australia are male. And according to recent research, in 50 years his kind will be extinct. There will be no male teacher in a primary school by 2067. Secondary teachers won’t be far behind.
The implications of this are enormous. For a start, education and learning will be seen as a purely feminine pursuit. How will that impact our boys, who are already being consistently outperformed at school? Our kids will never see men and women working together. How does that prepare them for life in the workforce?
Socially, students of both genders report wanting a mix of male and female teachers. Some kids relate to one gender or the other better. School is one of the few environments where children have close relationships with role models outside of the home. Do we really want to limit who those role models are?
This change in education will have wide-reaching consequences. If the current trend is to be reversed it will require government intervention in the form of incentive schemes and scholarships.