Monday, January 22, 2018

Male teachers do what females can’t

At last, someone with authority in this country has recognised a great deficiency in our education system—the lack of male presence at our schools. This is no less a person than President Anthony Carmona.

I have been a primary school teacher for 36 years and during my teaching career I have seen the population of male teachers at our school dwindle significantly from almost 50-50 to almost nil. When I retired in 2011, I was part of a staff which was made up of 15 female teachers and one male teacher, and this had persisted for at least the last 15 years of my career.

This has always been a sore point in teaching for me, for I remember growing up in a system where the presence of male teachers was felt as father figures and disciplinarians. The male teacher does what the female teacher can’t.

The school at which I worked was a co-ed school and I was always saddened by the fact that the boys under my charge came from homes with absent fathers, dominated by mothers and by female teachers at school who were impatient and did not quite understand the male psyche.

I tried my best to understand them and to give them what was lacking, but it was not the same. I could not interact with them as a male would.

Through the Parent-Teachers Association, I tried to initiate the involvement of men so that programmes could be implemented for boys, but that proved fruitless as very few men attended PTA meetings and fewer were allowed time off from their jobs to attend.

Maybe someone still in the system will have better success than I did by introducing big-brother mentorship programmes for our boys.

Over the years, I have seen boys misunderstood, become demoralised and disillusioned. They are content to sit back and let the girls take all the kudos and gallop ahead of them. In female-dominated schools like mine, the girls were pushed to succeed.

They were in the forefront of the academics, arts and sports. They volunteered for tasks and challenges, while the boys watched on.

Is it any wonder we now have a male crisis on our hands? We now have adult males who think the only way to handle male-female relationships is with violence.

It’s the only way they feel they can be in control or be a man or take charge of a situation. It is so sad that they were not taught this at school by having good, kind and loving father figures and role models to assist them and foster good qualities in them.

The qualities of honesty, respect, care and concern for others, kindness, fair play, chivalry and other gentlemanly qualities, which will include proper dress and good manners, are clearly lacking in our curriculum. Can a woman teach our boys these qualities?

I have a son and I thank God that even though he went to female-dominated schools, where he had problems with many a female teacher, his father is there as a loving, concerned but stern role model for him.

It’s not too late to help our men to win their manhood back by wooing respectable male figures to the teaching profession and placing male politicians of high integrity in public office.

If we are serious about teaching our boys to be men, introduce them to our heavenly Father and allow them to come to know and love Him.

Patrice David

Princes Town