How does gender affect the teaching profession?
How does the gender roll affect the teaching profession? Horace Mann played a huge role in this area, along with Catherine Beecher. During this time, education was not a priority for women. Women had to learn domestic trades so they could become good house wives. Mann and Beecher did not agree with this and they would define “public education as America’s new more gentle church and female teachers as the ministers of American morality. (Goldstein, 2014) She also believed that the “home and school were intertwined and could nurture the next generation.” (Goldstein, 2014) I believe that this is true as well, but I also feel it is important to have a strong male figure in your life because not everybody has a father figure in their life. She states in her “Essay on the Education of Female Teachers” “It is her hand that first stamps impressions on the immortal spirit that must remain forever.” Historian Redding Sugg dibbed this the “mother-teaching ideal”, “the notion that teaching and mothering were the same job done in different settings.” (Goldstein, 2014) It may seem old fashion, but I agree with this too, however, a male figure is just as important in a child’s life and can make a positive impact on a child’s life. Since women could not enroll in colleges or study the same subjects, she believed that teaching was the one profession in which a woman could gain, “influence, respectability and independence.” (Goldstein, 2014) Since women did not have the same educational opportunities as men, she established the Hartford Female Seminary and gave girls the opportunity to learn subjects that they normally would not have received (i.e. Latin, Greek, chemistry, modern languages, and moral and political philosophy.) (Goldstein, 2014) I believe that without Beecher fighting to make sure that women had equal learning opportunities, women would not have the proper education to be the best educator that they can be. Not only did they believe that women were best suited for the job, but they also believed that women should be hired because they were cheaper to pay than men and to save the state money. (Goldstein, 2014)
This was a huge problem for feminist teacher Susan B. Anthony. She disagreed with Beecher and Mann completely, and thought that women should be paid equally to men. This became worse when her former principle, who she worked for and respected, left the school and a 19 year old male (who was younger than her at the time) was replaced and known for his fondness of corporal punishment. (Goldstein, 2014) This was the last straw for Susan and she became involved in the women’s rights movement. (Goldstein, 2014) As a result of lack of equal pay and rights as men, there were many great teachers who left and there was/is a teacher shortage of wonderful teachers. Susan took her concerns to the NY State Teachers’ Association and spoke in front of a room full of men addressing the issues about how women were not treated as equals and they should be paid the same as men. I had many coworkers who were teachers in the past who left because there was something or someone that they did not agree with. They either retired, quit, or relocated to another school because they did not agree with what was happening. This is incredibly sad to me because we lost so many good teachers because they did not want to speak up and explain what was wrong so they could try to fix the problem so it would not continue. (Goldstein, 2014) I believe that without Susan’s bravery and determination to make sure that women were paid the same way, women would not have the same rights and financial opportunities as men as we do now.
Due to all the help of these people, the education system has come a long way, but still needs work. I believe that if we all work together, speak up, and address our concerns, we can make a better learning environment for the kids and working environment for teachers. Yes, we still have gender equality issues in the work force, but I believe that no matter what gender you are, it is how well the person performs their job that matters. I also believe that it is extremely important for everybody to have equal pay. If you are not qualified, then you should not have that job.
Goldstein, D. (2014). The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession. New York, NY: Doubleday.