I feel like teaching is easier for men.
Don’t shoot me just yet!
I’m speaking from a secondary school teacher’s perspective.
I’ll explain why.
I feel like female teachers get more stick from the students than male teachers do. Students respect a male teacher so much quicker than they do a female teacher. It’s as if females must earn – and I’m talking like really *really* earn – the respect before she is given a chance to get to know her students before eventually being respected. Before that, she is dismissed, disrespected, assumed not a great teacher and often mistaken for ‘’not understanding’’ the students very well.
This unfortunately is from both male and female students alike.
Can you imagine how much time and energy is wasted on just trying to break through these stubborn barriers that students place in front of a female teacher?
(To be fair, it’s not only from students. I once showed my boss I was interested in applying for a senior position, which I thought would have been perfect for me. I was familiar with the kids, the school, the culture and I was already a member of the department. Yet, the first thing he said to me was ‘’Really? *shocked face*. How do you feel about being the boss of men?’’ ‘’Errrrm, probably the same way I’d feel about being the boss of women.’’ Needless to say I didn’t get the job. A male teacher with no experience in the role was considered before I was, who had no knowledge on any of the things that I knew would give me the upper hand. Six weeks later, yet again, I’m requested to support this individual because, ‘’The kids are requesting you. You know what you’re doing’’. Thanks, but no thanks!)
Now I’ve often thought about why this is the case. Let me remind you, this is from both male and female students alike.
When I was in London, I taught at a mixed school, and they’re quite vocal about wanting a male teacher because ‘’he would be better’’. Although they loved me by the time we reached the 1st half term. But that’s beside the point. The point is that male teachers are seen to be able to handle students better just because they are men, bigger, often louder and stronger. When really you don’t need to be any of the above to be a good teacher.
Unless its describing your personality.
I once had to take 2 days of planned leave where a substitute teacher would be covering my lessons. I had everything prepared for them before I told them on the last day, ‘’Guys, I won’t be here for the next 2 days, so I’ll need to explain a couple things to you about my expectations whilst I am away’’. They understood and didn’t mind, but they had only one request for me. ‘’Miss, please just make sure it’s a male teacher that’s covering!’’. Obviously a little thrown off, I ask what the difference is because I am their original teacher and I’m a female. Their response was, ‘’no but Miss, we know you, we like and respect you now. (I think, ‘’What do you mean now?!’’ I dismiss it). You know how to handle us and we respect that. Most female teachers don’t, they just scream at us, and we can’t help but laugh when they end up crying’’.
Now obviously I’m a little thrown off. These ‘hurdles’ (as I like to call them) have been around way before these kids were even on this earth, even us! Yet these boring over used stereotypes somehow seep through the minds of the younger generation, stunting their mental growth and killing any potential the discriminated against group may possibly have.
That is exactly why I like to break stereotypes!
Remember in the early days of my blog, I posted ‘’My 1st day as a qualified teacher’’? Where I shared with you a comment (or request) that a student made advising me to quit?
Ok, ill remind you. This is how the conversation went;
‘’Look Miss, no offence (*too late*), but, just make your life easier’’.
‘’How so?’’ I ask.
‘’The last time we had a teacher like you, she ran out of the school crying and we never saw her again after the second week’’.
To soften the blow, he finishes it off with;
After my brutal response, and once the students got to know me. They never forgot the day they misjudged me because they likened me to another teacher due to some similarities they believed we may have had!
Granted. They apologized about a hundred times after the 1st half term and thanked me for staying, putting up with them and getting them into college. I still have a leaver’s books they made and signed for me when they were finally off to college. Many apologies, many more thanks and the mostly, ‘’I’ll never forget you, Miss.’’
Why does it have to be like this?
I believe I am a far better and more effective teacher than most of the males that I have ever worked with. That’s not saying anything about them, it’s more about me. I’m just a fantastic teacher.
‘’Be humble. Be humble. Be humble.’’ I tell myself.
Yet the male teachers get an easier ride at the start and sometimes throughout the year just because of the Y chromosome their body harbor’s.
Right now I’m teaching at a boys’ only campus. I’m one of the few female teachers there and can probably handle them better than most. Although I’m sure I had the most issues at the beginning, but, yet again, one of the best teachers there.
‘’Be humble, Nabila.’’
No actually, you know what. I won’t be humble. I’ve had my fair share of stick for absolutely no reason but the fact that I am female.
Wow. I just realized this started of a regular blog post and gradually became a rant.
I thought of and typed up this post in one sitting whilst my all-boys class completed a test and I don’t plan on editing to make it sound more ‘’appropriate’’.
Sorry, not sorry!
I think parents need to teach their children to be confident.
I think parents need to teach their children to know success comes with hard work.
I think parents need to teach their children that stereotypes are most often baseless.
I think parents need to teach their children how to challenge a stereotype if they are ever unfortunate enough to experience it. Which is most likely the case!
Only then can teachers reinforce these teachings in a school setting. Because very often, there’s very little a teacher can do in one academic year if their entire upbringing has been based on such negativity.
Ok now, back to being my humble self….
P.S: This post was not part of my plans. But something happened last week that triggered me to get onto my laptop and start typing and i didn’t stop until i finished. Next week’s post will be related to this also.
P.P.S: Obviously this is from my experience as a teacher and also a student. If its different for you, i’m genuinely happy for you, and hope that one day i’ll feel the same.