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‘Gay fears’ put men off teaching

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  1. If these potential teachers are afraid of looking gay then they shouldn’t be teachers because they will have to challenge homophobia.

  2. Andy Armitage 6 Apr 2009, 4:12pm

    You beat me to it, Charlene. It was more or less what I was going to say. And what’s this about pay and “a woman’s job”? Just what are teachers paid, anyway? Isn’t it enough? Silly question: I suppose it’s never enough. But I bet it’s above the national average, or at least on it. And what’s wrong with so-called “women’s jobs”? Are these teachers so sensitive that (a) they daren’t risk being thought gay and (b) they think teaching is perceived as a woman’s job? Perhaps it’s just as well that this type don’t want to become teachers. It’s a self-regulating mechanism.

  3. I’m a primary school teacher, and I’m not… oh, hang on, yes I am. And do I care – I’m out and proud and as camp as a row of pink tents with fairy-lit guy ropes. Perhaps these poor, fragile little straight blokes should be a bit more secure with their sexuality and a bit more open towards tackling homophobia.

  4. Is this a recent development? Back when I was at school, the teaching staff gender split was a predictable 50/50. Why male teachers think they would be perceived as gay is anyone’s guess. The only difference I’ve noticed between nowadays and when I was at school is kids these days are more inclined to falsely accuse male teachers of molesting them.
    I see this as part of a trend, the power relationship between kids and teachers has been turned on its head in the last 20 years, and you’ll always get a hardcore of troublemakers in every school who retaliate against teachers they’ve had run-ins with by “crying wolf”, knowing the emotive impact of the accusation.
    By the time the dust settles on these accusations, the teacher’s reputation is already wrecked, as kids can accuse with impunity, and they know it.
    I don’t deny that there are genuine cases of abuse too, but with so many vindictive kids out there I can completely understand why male teachers especially wouldn’t risk their future career prospects by accepting teaching jobs. Gayness has little to do with that.

  5. I was a primary school teacher. I think the main problem is that primary teaching isn’t seen as ‘real’ teaching by some men. It’s also less well-paid. When I did my training, there was only one guy who was training to be an infant teacher. He said his friends couldn’t understand why he hadn’t chosen to teach older children as they saw teaching the younger ones as childcare. That could be why it’s seen as a ‘woman’s job’. The last school I worked in had all female staff – apart from one man, who was the Head. That’s quite often the case.
    Personally, I’d think it more likely that the men were afraid of being seen as ‘unmacho’ rather than gay. Or worried that people would think they were weird in some way or even paedophiles. All illogical, but that’s a problem of the way society views primary teaching and other jobs popularly associated with women.
    Oh, and the money wasn’t enough for the hours I worked every week, Andy (no, it’s not 9am to 3.30pm :p ). I started as a newly qualified teacher in 2000 on about £16,000, and it went up a bit each year till I left, but compared to other graduate jobs it isn’t very good.

  6. Just seen your comment, Flapjack :) It’s not just male teachers. I felt obliged to have a witness every time I had to touch a child (I worked with Special Needs children who needed some personal care – help dressing, suncream, etc). I felt like a criminal even though I was only helping. That fear is always there for every teacher. Even telling off a difficult child, I had a witness in case he/she tried to accuse me of something. A sad and horrible thing to have to keep in your mind.

  7. @ Charlene

    Spot on.

  8. Pumpkin Pie 6 Apr 2009, 10:29pm

    The absurdity of these views aside, I long for the day when seeming “gay” isn’t an insult. Gay people don’t feel insulted when people think they’re straight. Why should it be so terrible for someone to mistakenly think you’re gay? My dad is constantly mistaken for a German on holiday. He doesn’t think it makes him any less of a man.

    It’s the “one drop rule” all over again. :p

  9. Twas ever thus Iris.
    When I started teaching in Primary Education back in 1964 [yes I am now retired!] an older teacher took me aside and advised me never to be in a classroom with only one child and the classroom door closed. Also I was advised never to give personal care to a child without another adult being present. That good advice I adhered to all my teaching life. Consequently I was never accused of anything. It’s all part of the job.
    However I do agree with Maria’s comment about ‘straight blokes should be a bit more secure with their sexuality’ Throughout my career I worked with a good many straight guys and the ones who were secure in their sexuality tended to make better teachers.
    Having said all that you may say that I don’t know what it is like in the Primary classroom today and I have to admit that is true. But I did encounter homophobic abuse and it was always challenged and I was always backed up by the rest of the staff and the Headteacher. Perhaps I was just lucky in that respect?

  10. Brian Burton 7 Apr 2009, 5:29pm

    David…A Teacher friend of mine in the 1960s even told his Head-Teacher he was Gay at his interview for a teaching job in London. He got the job and did very well. Later along Kings Road he bumped into Rudolph Nureyev and Nureyev looked at him and said in a thick Russian accent: ‘You are very Butch.’ and off they went for ‘High Jinks.’ Oh! halcyon days!

  11. Brian….I remember those days very well! having lived and worked in Central London since 1964 ….

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