Male primary school teacher numbers dropping, will be 'extinct' by 2067, study finds

Stawell West Primary principal Jim O'Brien says teaching is a great career for males. Picture: Anthony Piovesan

Stawell West Primary principal Jim O'Brien says teaching is a great career for males. Picture: Anthony Piovesan

The number of male teachers has dropped so dramatically there will be none left in Australian primary schools within 50 years unless governments take action, researchers claimed.

Australia's first longitudinal study of teacher numbers found the number of male primary school and high school teachers fell 10 per cent and 14 per cent respectively since 1977.

Stawell West Primary School principal Jim O’Brien said he could not understand the drop and insisted it was a great career for males. 

Two teachers out of eight, including himself, are male at the school. 

“There is certainly a shortage and I am not sure how it can be changed,” he said. 

“It can be a great career for a male- there is plenty of opportunity within schools, a chance to travel and to be part of a community effort to educate children.”

Mr O’Brien’s father was a principal, so he had always been around schools when he was younger. 

“This helped influence my decision,” he said. 

“But it just feels good to help somebody and that is why I love doing my job.”

St Patrick’s Primary School has only one male teacher at the school. 

Principal Liz McIntyre said there had never been an abundance of male teachers during her time in the industry. 

”Perhaps there are fewer male teachers because they have other ideas and professions they wish to go into,” she said.

“Traditionally males have not necessarily been drawn to teaching.”

But Ms McIntyre said it was important for students to have both male and female teachers as role models in the classroom. 

“It is vital for there to be more male teachers,” she said. 

“Males in the industry have something to offer- they are good role models for boys and girls and the students would be able to see that teachers can be both male and female.

“It is so important students see male teachers can still have a place in the industry.”

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