At my elementary school, all the K-3 teachers were women and all but 1 or 2 of the Grades 4-6 teachers were men. In junior high and high school the numbers were much more even.
Fast forward a few decades. K-6 school teachers are still overwhelmingly women. At the high school at which I teach the numbers–even in the math department!–are fairly even. This makes education still a field with what, in many other fields, would be called a “disproportionate” number of women. Why is that? Is education “women’s work”? Is the pay too low? Particularly in elementary education, are men looked at as potential child molesters?
According to the Consortium for Policy Research in Education, only about 24 percent of all teachers were male in 2012, with just one in 10 men teaching elementary school students. Ethan Zagore, director of the University of Notre Dame’s TRiO program, a federally funded initiative aimed at helping disadvantaged youngsters obtain an education, says a number of factors contribute to the shortage, but a big one is that many people just fundamentally — consciously or subconsciously — believe the role of an elementary teacher is better suited for women… The absence of black male teachers is even more pronounced in U.S. schools, accounting for just 2 percent of the nation’s educators, according to a report on racial diversity released last year from the Department of Education.