An uncommon thing is occurring at Newcastle Grammar School this year: both year 1 teachers are male. In a profession over-represented by female employees, this is rare indeed.
Sam Taylor, who completed his university studies 18 months ago, says he and his male colleague have received a very positive response from students, parents and staff.
“Female and male teachers are both valued and required in education,” he says. “Teaching is a team effort and in my opinion a balance of staff gender helps schools operate more effectively. Having an all-male or female staff does not promote positive role models and equality.”
Taylor says teaching is currently a female-dominated career; there is a strong need for male role models in primary education. A male teacher is the first man that many young students will have regular interaction with outside of their family, he says.
“Each individual teacher brings different perspective and this can be heavily influenced by gender,” Taylor says. “For example, coaching the school rugby union team would be a male-targeted role as opposed to teaching dancing.
Because a teacher’s repertoire consists of their own knowledge and understanding, the gender experiences of a teacher will ultimately change their teaching approach.” Taylor says he thoroughly enjoys participating in students’ games and activities and doing so helps build respect between the teacher and students. “I always reflect on my own experiences as a student when planning in the aim of making classroom tasks more engaging and enjoyable,” he says.
Since he began teaching, Taylor says he has received positive feedback from his students and their carers. “Parents are usually very aware of what their child’s teacher is doing in class, and showing commitment, dedication and work ethic goes a long way to establish a strong rapport with parents and families,” he says.
“I take a genuine interest in my students and strive to provide them with the best possible educational experiences.”
The calling to teaching came early for Taylor; an initial interest crystallised when he completed high school work experience at a local primary school. “I wanted to pursue a teaching career to help students reach their potential and help them achieve their goals,” he says. “Growing up in an area with a high amount of students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, I realised teaching would provide me the opportunity to help and encourage students to exceed expectations.” He says the most rewarding part of the job is witnessing a student’s excitement over grasping a new concept.
Taylor says he encourages any young person, male or female, who has an interest in children or education to consider becoming a primary teacher. “It requires dedication, commitment and patience to be an effective classroom teacher,” he says.
“With so few male graduate teachers, there is a strong demand for men in the profession with many of the existing males approaching retirement age. A career in teaching offers fulfilment and rewards for those who enjoy making a difference.”