Teacher and activist Nicholas Ferroni broached an interesting question about male role models on Twitter: at what grade did his followers first learn from a male teacher? Thousands responded.
At first, his question appears to be innocuous. However, male teachers make up less than a quarter of the total teaching population, according to The Atlantic. Black male teachers make up even less of this statistic, coming in at just two percent.
Many of the replies confirmed that male teachers remained scarce until middle school, or even high school. Most people said they had never realized this until the question was broached.
If someone did have a male teacher in elementary school, they noted the rarity of it. These responses often included some kind of anecdote about the person’s first male teacher. These stories revolved around the lessons learned from said teachers—inside and outside the classroom.
One Twitter user told the story of Mr. Humphrey, a 5th grade teacher.
“He took me shopping for a Mother’s Day gift at the mall when my Dad was recovering from a heart attack. One of the first times I consciously recognized what it meant to do something totally beyond what was called for out of kindness,” @scottzoback said.
Male teachers influence their students enormously, according to USA Today. Male role models who offer positive support for students impact their confidence levels—especially for boys.
Thirty-one percent of children live with a single parent or with grandparents, according to the US Census Bureau. The majority of those kids live without a male role model in the home. School should be the next best place for children to find a male role model… but men aren’t flocking to the education profession.
Both male and female role models are vital for a child’s development. With the low numbers of male influence in education and in the family, this lack of male influence is hurting our kids.
Children spend most of their waking hours either at school or at home. If they do not have a positive male influence in either of those places, many kids will grow up without a male role model to look up to.
Ferroni summed his thoughts up with a final tweet.
Real men teach. Real men provide an example for others to follow. Male educators can be excellent role models for students, but they have to enter the profession to do so.
Opportunity is an overused buzzword. However, the opportunity for children to learn from a positive male influence is underrated. Teachers as a whole are underappreciated, underpaid, and overworked.
The work teachers do ought to be respected, and the impact they have cannot be ignored.
Good teachers make good role models. Good role models help children grow into confident, well-rounded individuals.
Appreciate the male teachers in your child’s life. They have more impact than you may know.