Just an observation on male teachers

finland This picture’s been circulating. Yes, I agree: Finland’s been doing things a bit differently. Public school advocates are always anxious to make comparisons. Let me just focus on that first statement there, “We pay teachers like doctors…” So, to me that connotes respect and that teaching is a profession with a respectable status or reputation.

Great, well, take a peek at the picture below, which is data available from UNESCO. Between pre-primary and upper secondary, the average percentage of female teachers is roughly 73% overall. Additionally, the proportion drops as the age of the student increases. The relative proportion in the United States is very similar, around 75%. The proportion of male elementary teachers is about 10%. I’d say Finland is certainly better, around 13% if you average primary and pre-primary.

Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 12.43.22 PM

Don’t you find that interesting? A country that is touted for respecting teachers, offering them great esteem, teaching is still so highly divided based on sex? No matter how much prestige you can offer, it’s still difficult for a lot of guys to think working with kids is something they can do. Even in Finland.


  1. Keep in mind that the majority of Soviet doctors were women, and the majority of Soviet teachers were men. Guess which was the more prestigious profession?

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