Feature

Does Gender Matter?

Jerry DeQuetteville
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The debate is not unique to Canada. Dr. Wayne Martino and Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli cited numerous research studies from the UK and Australia that reviewed the impact male teachers have on boys. Australia’s ultra-conservative federal government reacted in a knee-jerk way: it went so far as to change the country’s constitution so that it could offer scholarships just for men. This extreme measure has had a negligible  impact. Other policies designed to give preference to men applying for teaching jobs have also been failures. There are no simple answers.

During the afternoon, participants were led through facilitated discussions of four key issues: Is this a problem? Why is it a problem? What can be done to address the issue? Who should undertake the solutions?

The discussions were rich and passionate. Recently the ETFO Executive called for an executive/staff task force to review the data collected by the facilitators and to report back to the November executive meeting.

Teachers understand that we are important influences in children’s lives and that we try to expose our students to positive role models. Unfortunately our impact can’t always be measured. Often it isn’t planned. Yet all teachers have had the experience of a former student sharing with them the effect that they had. It is powerful, it is real, and it is one of the reasons why ETFO believes in a diverse teaching population.

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