What’s one of the first things you think of when you hear there’s a teacher shortage? Low pay? Too much progressive BS? Student behavior?
If you’re a liberal university student paper opinions writer looking for a topic you might want to consider sexism.
Y’know, take something you likely learned in a “studies” course and throw it out there as some cunning insight.
George Washington University’s Katarina Engst, who according to her Linkedin page has never taught a single day in a K-12 classroom (she is still in college), reaches back 180 years in a recent column to do just that.
After all, Engst writes that the “Father of the Common School,” Horace Mann, had noted that women’s “natural sympathy, sagacity, [and] maternal instincts preeminently qualify” them as educators.
Mann’s words “regurgitat[e] stereotypes that question [women’s] professional competence” and “are still prevalent today,” the political science-majoring junior says. “The shortage of educators is not only alarming but also cause for introspection — our society undervalues teachers’ work because of its association with femininity.
“The sexism inherent in their job is not something my teachers should have faced, and it’s not something I or anyone else who decides to enter the field should face, either.”
Think about the mores of Mann’s time almost two centuries ago. It’s obviously changed substantially since. The number of stay-at-home mothers has shrunk more than 50 percent just since the 1950s … so the difficulty in finding teachers in 2023 is due to femininity/sexism??
I spent more than 25 years in the public school arena and never heard about sexism being behind teacher vacancies a single time. In fact, the only sexism-related thing I did hear was that male teachers were reluctant to work in elementary schools for fear of being perceived as what today one would call a “groomer.”
Nevertheless, the early grades continue to clamor for male role models.
The fact of the matter is that any alleged “association with femininity” in teaching is way down on the list of reasons not to go into the profession — if it’s even on the list at all.
If you ask a former teacher why he/she left the profession, I guarantee you’ll likely hear “discipline” (specifically a lack thereof), probably in the top spot. COVID certainly exacerbated matters as kids returning from virtual instruction were resistant to once again having to follow rules and procedures.
Building administrators deeply versed in “restorative justice” have done little to help in this regard.
A teacher in Flint, Michigan is knocked to the floor when a student hurls at a chair at her head. pic.twitter.com/KBOLM7KOwH
— Libby Emmons (@libbyemmons) September 29, 2023
School districts really need to go Occam’s Razor on this: If they truly want to alleviate teacher vacancies, cut the touchy-feely discipline nonsense like restorative justice and let teachers maintain order in their classrooms again. If they then stand firm against the inevitable progressive complaints, they’ll see the applications from wannabe teachers flow in.