Why do so few men work in public schools? Hamburg wants to change that now (with a model project)

HAMBURG. Almost all teachers work in primary schools. Example Hamburg: Only 12.7 percent of the staff are men. A pilot project from the school authorities and the foundation “Zeit” will change that. The reasons for the men’s absence are unclear. It’s probably not the money.

Where are all the men? At least not in primary schools. Photo: Shutterstock

Hamburg’s school board wants to recruit more men as elementary school teachers. “We note with great concern that most teachers in general and in primary schools in particular are women,” said Senator Ties Rabe (SPD) on Monday. Currently, 87.3 percent of the teachers in the 195 state primary schools are women, and the proportion of men among teacher trainees is even lower. According to the information, only 6.5 percent of primary school teachers newly employed on 1 August 2022 are men. “We hope there will be a balanced gender distribution,” Rabe said.

To achieve this, the authorities and the “Zeit” Foundation Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius have started a model project for an initial period of three years and endowed with around 280,000 euros, which is aimed at high school students, students and career changers. School campuses must be held up to twice per school year, where information is provided about “the varied and sometimes challenging daily life of a primary school teacher” and about the course.

“Teachers have the most important profession in this educational republic”

The first campus will take place on November 19 at Bucerius Law School. In addition, a collaborative structure is being developed to give the young men the opportunity to do internships and work placements at primary schools. Finally, a network for primary school teachers must be established, where newcomers can exchange ideas with experienced primary school teachers.

“Teachers have the most important profession in this educational republic,” said the chairman of the board of the “Zeit” foundation, Prof. Manuel J. Hartung. Together with educators, they are role models, inspire and shape life. “With our joint model project, we want to show that the profession of primary school teacher is varied and has great importance for children’s development,” said Hartung.

It’s not just about the fact that a mixed college can better handle the many different educational tasks than a college that focuses strongly on one gender, said Rabe. It is also about role models, “because the boys at school must also see and be aware that education is not only for women, but also for boys and men”.

“Gender roles may to some extent contribute to the fact that young men are not as interested in raising children as young women are.”

In the vocational schools there are still roughly the same number of teachers, but in the high schools the ratio is already 65 to 35, Rabe said. He can’t really explain the steady increase in women in colleges. It couldn’t be because of the money that men stayed away. It’s a satisfying, beautiful job, “but above all a well-paid job”.

Those who become elementary school teachers in Hamburg serve more than 85 percent of the population, Rabe said. He therefore suspected that the reason for this was not the payment, but rather gender roles, “which perhaps to some extent favor the fact that young men are not as interested in raising children (…) as young women”.

The fact that elementary school teachers still earn less than their colleagues at upper secondary schools and vocational schools, which can still be found in other federal states, will soon no longer apply in Hamburg. Until now, elementary school teachers have been paid according to the information in the salary group according to A12, secondary school teachers according to A13. The difference was originally EUR 450 gross per month.

Since two out of three adjustment phases have already taken place, the gross difference is now only 150 euros. “The next year, the elementary teachers caught up to all the other teachers,” Rabe said. Hamburg would then be one of the few countries that would pay its teachers anyway.

According to the school authorities, a job starter at A13 at level 1 receives 4,360 euros gross per month. After deducting the private health insurance of around 280 euros, that leaves a net salary of 3,180 euros – assuming the teacher works full-time. According to the statistics office, only 49 percent of all teachers in Hamburg did this in the 2020/21 school year, meaning that the Hanseatic city had the highest part-time percentage in Germany with Bremen. By Markus Klemm, dpa

Young men! Take on the most varied and fun job in the world! Become: primary school teacher! – A column

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