Diversity Creates Empathy

As we all celebrated the male figures in our lives for Father’s Day recently, it got me thinking about other males in our students lives and the role they play beyond the family unit.

There have been plenty of articles over the years, and even just recently, highlighting the fact that teaching has been a predominantly female-populated profession, particularly in the primary years, yet I believe there is change afoot.

I have read some articles that tell of students not encountering any male teachers until well into secondary school, which is sad to hear. We are lucky to have a number of male teachers in our Primary areas on both campuses doing great work with the students in a variety of subjects.

All teachers bring their own flair to the teaching table but it has been interesting to read recent news coverage saying that male teachers in the primary setting provide great role modelling from a young age for both young boys and girls.

In recent informal discussions on this topic with some of our staff, the importance of exposing children to teachers from both genders rung true.

One of our primary parents also recently mentioned that her son had really taken to having our male teachers around, often approaching them in the playground for a man-to-man chat.

Edith Cowan University, who operates the largest school for teacher training in the State, shared recent statistics showing the number of males enrolled to study Primary Education undergraduate and postgraduates has increased by more than 65 per cent to 510 this year compared to 300 in 2013.

This has altered their rounded estimates from 1 in 4 primary teachers being male in 2013 to 1 in 3. Plus, the whole primary education discipline has grown by 45 per cent from 2013 to 2017.

While the increased number of people studying teaching is great news, the best thing I take away from this is that our students will have access to a diverse range of teachers, both male and female, on their educational journey from Kindergarten through to Year 12.

There is evidence that children who are exposed to diversity early on tend to have greater empathy as adults. Whether this is diversity in relation to culture, religion, gender, or even just a range of views, the exposure to a range of differences can help children’s minds to question,inquire and investigate to find their own answers based on varied experiences and interactions.

At St Stephen’s School we aim to promote diversity and consequently inclusion. We are lucky enough to have a diverse range of staff (both male and female), students and families from various backgrounds and countries around the world, who we celebrate equally.

As we may be seeing a rise in the number of males taking up teaching as a profession across our primary and secondary sectors, at St Stephen’s School we pride ourselves on teachers who overall live by values of respect and compassion, with a goal to enrich the learning and lives of our students.

Take care,

Mrs Donella Beare