Stigma Still Faces Chinese Male Teachers

Male teachers are increasingly becoming a rarity in China – especially from kindergartens through middle schools – as social stigma keeps them away from the classrooms nationwide.

 

Educators are urging action against the gender gap in the teaching profession in early childhood education, as China marked Teachers’ Day on Monday.

 

According to a report by Chinese newspaper People’s Daily, the lower the grade, the smaller the number of male teachers.

 

It is particularly the case in classes traditionally taught by female teachers, such as languages, arts and music.

 

Male teachers are increasingly becoming a rarity in China – especially from kindergartens through middle schools – as social stigma keeps them away from the classrooms nationwide.

 

Educators are urging action against the gender gap in the teaching profession in early childhood education, as China marked Teachers’ Day on Monday.

 

According to a report by Chinese newspaper People’s Daily, the lower the grade, the smaller the number of male teachers.

 

It is particularly the case in classes traditionally taught by female teachers, such as languages, arts and music.

 

In the city of Wuhan, central China’s Hunan Province, the ration of male teachers to female instructors in elementary and middle schools was three to seven in 2017. In pre-schools, it decreased to a mere two to 23.

 

In the northwestern Province of Qinghai, the ratio in middle schools is 3:7, but falls to 1:4 in elementary schools. The gap further grows in kindergartens where among 10 teachers, only one is a male.

 

Low salaries, a lack of professional satisfaction, and stubborn stigma associated with men pursuing a teaching career are primarily behind the scarcity of male teachers in China.

 

“Elementary and middle schools male teachers generally can’t help but feel unsatisfied on the job, for they don’t see the same prospects working in the nine-year compulsory education system in comparison with working in higher education, where they can get more bonuses, promotions and tenure status. Therefore more male teachers tend to choose to work there,” Shu Yiyun, a teacher at a local school in Changsha City, central China’s Hunan Province, told People’s Daily.

 

“Society holds biases against men who aspire to become teachers because the field of education is not perceived as a successful career path for them. Now less and less male students are willing to major in education at college,” Zhang Guofeng, a high school physics teacher was quoted as saying.

 

Zhang thinks male teachers are subject to persistent stereotypes that men have to be the breadwinners and providers so they face such societal expectations on the job.

 

Changing the stigma against men is paramount to addressing the disparity between male and female teachers in early education.

 

Improving the social status and financial incentives for all teachers is also crucial, Zhang Shangyan, with the Hunan First Normal University, also indicated.

 

Source: CGTN