MALE teachers are important in children's lives and sometimes make the difference in getting through to boys about behavioural problems.
Vice-principal of Gordon Primary School Gareth Richards said low numbers of male teachers in ACT schools meant some men had significant loads of pastoral care duties on top of their roles as educators.
''We are quite fortunate at Gordon Primary School to have a strong male cohort,'' he said. ''We have the principal and myself and nine teachers at the school who are male.
''But in the past I have worked at a school which had only two male teachers and I knew of another school that had only one male teacher.
''I imagine there would be a lot of extraneous duties for that person. There is a responsibility - a school needs to be providing for role modelling.
''You may have to have a one-on-one talk with a boy and it may be the different perspective from a man that allows you to create a bond and if it makes a difference to that child then it's great.
''If you are one of only two teachers in a school with 300 children, then there can be that extra burden. But teaching is a calling … and it sometimes means giving up your time, family time to get the job done.''
He said schools often wanted to send male and female teachers on school camps and if there was only one man, it would always fall to him. ''I firmly believe that a quality teacher is a quality teacher regardless of gender, but I believe we need that mix of genders in our schools,'' he said.
''There are a number of children from single-parent families and their parents have been thankful to have that positive male role model.''
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