Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where have South Australia's male teachers gone?

Its the same phenomenon on other western democracies.MJM

Walkerville Primary School teacher Bill Perrie with students Hannah, 13, Thomas, 13, Ally, 12, Lewis, 13, Cathy, 12, Sam, 13, and Liam, 13. Picture: Sarah Reed

Article from: The Advertiser


November 02, 2009 12:01am

FEWER than one in five students studying teaching in the state's universities and TAFEs are male as the exodus of men from schools worsens.

South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre figures for 2009 show there are 152 males (or 19 per cent) and 650 females enrolled in teaching courses.

This compares to a ratio of one male to four females only three years ago. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show there are 1923 more female teachers in SA than 10 years ago, compared with 138 fewer males.

WHY AREN'T THERE ENOUGH MALE TEACHERS? Have your say in the comment box below.

Educators and academics are concerned the continuing decline of men in the profession will impact on children's personal development during their formative years, leaving students without male role models.

The situation is most worrying in primary schools, with reports of as few as one male teacher for every 10 females in some schools.

Teachers say men may be put off a career in education because of the "feminised workforce", perceptions of low pay and "maternal" duties, and social stigma arising from publicised child abuses by men in schools.

The Education Department has no targeted strategy for recruiting more men but says addressing the gender imbalance will be a key focus for a recently formed Education Workforce Taskforce.

Educators and academics, however, have called for a more concerted effort to target marketing to men.

UniSA's associate dean in the school of education Kaye McCallum said it was important to have male role models in schools because of family breakdown and to give students the opportunity to build trusting relationships with men.

However, she warned some men did not "feel as comfortable working with little children (because) sometimes other people in society make judgments about males working with little children and that scares them off".

Flinders University initial teacher education programs director Kathy Brady said more work could be done to encourage men into teaching.

"Kids love male teachers in primary schools because they don't get them very often," she said.

Ms Brady said young men in teaching programs sometimes found they were treated with suspicion because they were males.

Education Department human resources executive director Phil O'Loughlin agreed the workforce was a "feminised" environment.

While he would not speculate on the reasons men avoided going into teaching, Mr O'Loughlin said he would like to see more males in schools.

Business SA chief executive Peter Vaughan, a former secondary school teacher, said the profession was failing to attract the best and brightest, who were more interested in law, accounting, medicine or commerce.

"There is such a range of other occupations available to university-qualified people," he said. "Men find teaching a very easy occupation to not engage in because they have alternatives elsewhere that are much more highly paid and offer more rapid career advancement."

This year, 24,922 women were registered to teach in SA, compared to 9764 men, although not all work as teachers.

SA Primary Principals Association president Steve Portlock said the main priority was attracting quality teachers. "If we attract high-quality people then we will attract high-quality males," he said.

"Some students don't have access to males who are non-aggressive, thoughtful, polite . . . and in those foundation years (for) very, very young children . . . one of the few places they can have that is at school."

Australian Education Union state president Correna Haythorpe defended the teaching profession as "inclusive but said the union had not asked the department to consider a quota of male teachers or targeted recruiting of men".

"We believe that it is the quality of the teacher, not necessarily the gender, that makes a difference in the classroom," she said.,22606,26290562-2682,00.html

Ireland mom faces U.S. extradition over child snatching By

This has all the hallmarks of an incredibly dysfunctional family. The headline is a little misleading in that the mom is American residing in Ireland and not Irish. There is a Canadian connection as well.MJM

Irish Central

Ireland mom faces U.S. extradition over child snatching

A Texas woman who fled to Ireland with her two children in 2005 is to attend an extradition hearing in Dublin on Wednesday, December 3.

Tedra Erickson and her mother, Kay Erickson, took her two children, Emma and Kaitlyn, to Ireland in early 2005 after a nasty custody battle with their father, Michael Peterson. According to news reports, they didn’t have any connection with Ireland.

A custody battle in March 2005 awarded joint custody to both parents. However, Erickson and the children’s father wanted full custody.

In April of that year, Peterson, who separated from Erickson after four years of marriage, went to a scheduled meeting with his children at the police station but they never showed up. That was the last he saw of them until a private investigator located them in 2006 in Tralee, County Kerry.

According to news reports, Erickson, with the aid of her mother, crossed the border with the children at Canada and traveled by cargo ship to Britain, and came to Ireland via Holyhead, settling in Tralee.

A felony warrant was issued for Tedra on April 13, 2005 and for her mother on September 2006.

After a year of trying to locate his children alone Peterson hired private investigator Philip Cline.

In September 2006, the investigator located the mother, grandmother and children in Tralee. The children were attending school and Tedra had a full time job as a chiropodist.

Peterson went to Ireland to meet his children shortly after their discovery. According to interviews Peterson gave to the media after the meeting, the children didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

A court hearing took place in Ireland under the rules of the Hague Child Abduction Convention, set up to establish contact between children and their parents when families separate.

The judge decided to allow the children to settle in Ireland. However, a grand jury in Collin County, Texas, in 2008 indicted Erickson and her mother on interference with child custody, a state-jail felony. He called for both women to be extradited back to the U.S.
Cline told a local newspaper in Texas that out of 16 years as a child rescue investigator, this is one of the most aggressive cases of parental alienation he has seen.

“I bring kids back from all over the world,” Cline said. “In this case, these children are going to need extreme psycho-therapy. I believe the children will come back to their father, but it won’t be kisses and roses. It will be a long, hard road for the entire family.”

Tedra has been working in Ireland as a chiropodist for the past number of years. The mother of two was working in a chiropodist clinic in Tralee before moving to Limerick.

IrishCentral’s sister publication the Irish Voice spoke to an employee of the clinic on Tuesday. The employee said that she was recently fired from the clinic for telling lies, practicing under a false license and other serious issues.

According to the employee, Tedra is now illegally practicing chiropody around Limerick City. She was unavailable for comment.

In related news, Peterson’s new wife, Celeste, is charged with assaulting Tedra with a deadly weapon seven years ago.

According to news reports, Celeste stabbed Erickson with a knife in front of her two daughters. The case is to be heard in January. It has been ongoing for six years, partly because Erickson was not in the U.S. to give evidence.

If Justice Michael Peart at the High Court in Dublin rules to allow the extradition in December, Tedra and her mother could be returned to the U.S. to be tried for interference with a child custody case and parental abduction.

Peterson, who has two other children, has spent time behind bars with a record of harassment, theft, drunk driving and burglary.

Curtis Howard, Collin County assistant district attorney, said his side of the paperwork to complete the extradition process is complete and he is waiting on the Department of Justice and the State Department to do final approval. He said he is unsure what the status is in Ireland.

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