I’m a rare bird – a male elementary school teacher. At trainings and education conferences I’ve been to, men are outnumbered at least 10:1. So it comes as no surprise when some well-meaning woman comes up to me and says, “Bless your heart. You know, we need more male teachers.” I always agreed with them.
The underlying reason for their statement is the fact that so few children have male role models in their daily lives. A male teacher would provide that model for at least 180 days. While I relish being a role model for my students, I’ve realized something.
It’s not my job.
David Popenoe wrote in his book Life Without Father:
But the decline of fatherhood is a major force behind many of the most disturbing problems that plague American society: crime; premature sexuality and out-of-wedlock births to teenagers; deteriorating educational achievement; depression, substance abuse and alienation among adolescents; and the growing number of women and children in poverty.
I’m supposed to make up for that?!?
Listen, there is no way that I can fill the father-sized hole in my students in 180 days. In my current class of 15, six students have their fathers in their homes. This is the highest total in my eight years teaching at my present school. I can almost always tell if Dad is around after being around my students for a few days.
More male teachers certainly wouldn’t hurt anything, but it’s not the solution.
The solution is stronger families. Stronger men. Stronger leaders. We need men who will step up and do the difficult job of raising a family. I know it’s not easy. It would be so much easier for me to check out on my three children. But that’s not what they need.
Kids don’t need more male teachers. They need their daddy to be Daddy.