According to a new study out of Ontario, Canada, 13 percent of male teachers said they have been “wrongly accused of inappropriate contact with pupils,” reported The Globe and Mail.
The study had a small sample size—only 223 male elementary teachers—and did not compare the findings to the number of allegations female teachers face. But it suggests that “male teachers work in a steady state of anxiety.”
Perhaps that’s one reason so many men are opting out of the teaching profession. In Canada, only 20 percent of the teacher pool is male, said The Globe and Mail. “The most troubling deterrent men cite is the fear that society—for historical reasons—is suspicious of a man who enjoys working with young children,” the paper reported.
“I live life on the edge every day I step into the classroom.,” wrote one male teacher who participated in the study. “All it takes is one parent or fellow teacher to perceive that the line between nurturing and pedophil(ia) is blurry and I am a dead duck!”
Mike Parr, co-author of th study, said erasing the social stigma is critical. He suggested that a marketing campaign “similar to billboards used to attract women to apprenticeship programs...could help this with images of men working with young children, so society can see men that way, and men can see themselves that way,” according to the paper.
The study will be published in the McGill Journal of Education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.