Shortage of Males in ECE Settings
Do you do a double take if you see a male teacher working in an Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre? You could be forgiven when we consider that fewer than 2% of ECE teachers are men – on the whole, it’s not a sight we often see. This dis-proportionate representation has been thrown into the spotlight recently by the media, but though this dynamic has received fresh attention, it is by no means a new problem.
In a media release in January 2012, Chief Executive of the Early Childhood Council, Peter Reynolds, said that ECE teaching was one of the most gender-segregated professions in New Zealand. “Such segregation would not be tolerated in law or medicine,” he said. “It is ridiculous that it exists in a sector that has the fundamentally important job of nurturing our youngest of children.”
At BTI, we are very fortunate to have an experienced ECE teacher, Philip Ozanne, heading up our centre-based Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood) programme. Philip thinks that more men would consider ECE teaching if they recognized it as a legitimate career path. “I think there is still the stigma and the idea amongst men that it’s babysitting,” he reflects. “They don’t see it as education necessarily. Often, until they have children of their own, they don’t see the education that’s going on and the possibility of benefits for a man working in the field.”
“We need to get back to our roots and get more males involved.”
Read more of this article in our 2013 Forward Magazine.