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GENDER GAP?

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/ Sierra SunMichael Arington teaches a sixth grade math class at Alder Creek Middle School Monday morning. Only 24 percent of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District's teachers are male.
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Despite state and nationwide efforts to find more male teachers for public schools, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District has a different set of priorities for teacher recruiting.

In 2002, the National Education Association waged a campaign to diversify the public schools with a focus of bringing men back into classrooms as teachers.

“We are not participating in any recruitment plan to address the gender equity balance,” said Tahoe Truckee Unified Superintendent Dennis Williams.

Williams said he is focused on finding teachers with math and science skills, rather than bridging the gender gap. He also wants to find teachers with the Bilingual Cross-cultural Language in Academic Development certification, which tests teachers on their ability to teach English as a second language.

Ethnicity is also an important issue for Williams.

“Ideally, I would love to recruit ethnicity to mirror the student population,” he said.

Twenty-four percent of the district’s teachers are male ” a total of 54 male teachers and 225 female teachers. That closely mirrors the national figure in 2002, when 24.9 percent of the nation’s 3 million teachers were men. The ratio of male to female teachers has dropped in the past two decades and is now at a 40-year low, according to the association.

Michael Arington, a sixth-grade teacher at Alder Creek Middle School, stumbled into teaching as a second career.

“It wasn’t my initial plan to become a teacher. I stumbled on it through my other career of teaching skiing,” Arington said. “I was leaning more toward middle school because the time I spent with lower age groups wasn’t as comfortable. It was more taking care of kids ” wiping noses and taking them to the bathroom.”

Bridey Heidel, who has taught at the middle school level but is now an English teacher at South Tahoe High School, said the genders of instructors level out past the elementary school years.

“I think it takes a special kind of person to teach elementary school,” she said. “I think you have to be very soft. In high school we can be so sarcastic. We can have a different level of humor with the kids.”


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