Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College Wooing More Males to Teaching Profession

Photo: Garwin Davis Academic Vice Principal of Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, Robert Edwards, addresses Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’, at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional office on January 29.

Story Highlights

  • Officer for Placement and Promotions at Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, in St. James, Tavia Barnes-Brown, said the college has embarked on strategies to attract more male students to the teaching profession, such as giving grants to boost male enrollment.
  • Mr. Edwards noted that the stigma ranges from the belief that the profession is tailor-made for females and also that the salary is not attractive enough.
  • Mr. Roach said it is his view that boys almost always want to see men in roles that they would want to emulate and that teaching was no exception.

Officer for Placement and Promotions at Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College, in St. James, Tavia Barnes-Brown, said the college has embarked on strategies to attract more male students to the teaching profession, such as giving grants to boost male enrolment.

“We also take our male students out there, so others can see them and realise it is okay to get involved in teaching,” she said.

Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s Montego Bay Regional Office on January 29, Mrs. Barnes-Brown said one of the things the college has seen is that males can impact other males and can be very effective in being a positive influence.

“We also skew our marketing sometimes towards enticing male students to enrol,” she pointed out.

Meanwhile, Academic Vice President of the college, Robert Edwards, said there is tangible evidence that male students have been shying away from the teaching profession for fear of being stigmatised.

Mr. Edwards noted that the stigma ranges from the belief that the profession is tailor-made for females and also that the salary is not attractive enough.

“Over here at Sam Sharpe, we have 585 females as opposed to only 71 males. This is not common to just Sam Sharpe but to teachers’ colleges right across the island,” he said.

Mr. Edwards said the perception that there is no money in teaching, as well as the belief that there is hardly any room for social mobility is patently false, emphasising that there are many success stories as it relates to the profession.

“In our society a male will say to you that he is not going into teaching because it cannot take care of his family. He will tell you about his children whom he wants to send to university and the need to be the main breadwinner and family provider. I can say though that I have been a teacher for the past 26 years, and I have accomplished a lot along the way,” he said.

Meanwhile, President of the Guild of Students, Roxroy Roach, added that in a coursework survey he did two years ago, “it was not so much a case of money that they (males) can earn but rather the perception that it a feminine profession”.

“I also found that many of them were influenced by the male figures in their lives. Males who had fathers or male relatives as teachers were more inclined to want to enter the profession,” he noted.

Mr. Roach said it is his view that boys almost always want to see men in roles that they would want to emulate, and that teaching was no exception.

He added that peer pressure can sometimes be a destructive deterrent, noting that the record will show that there have been some extraordinarily good male teachers who have been a credit to the teaching profession.

“If we should do a survey in schools throughout the country, you will find that male teachers have been doing very well and have been serving their institutions with distinction. We need to instil in our young men from very early that teaching is indeed a noble profession that can change lives and also make a huge difference in the economic development of our country,” Mr. Roach said.

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