If movies have taught us anything it’s that elderly Japanese gentlemen are boss at teaching you kids bitchin’ martial arts moves, but if you just think about the relationship between Miyagi and Daniel-san for a second, what do you notice? Before you answer out loud and end up on some sort of government list, we’ll tell you, Miyagi is a man. When we saw that one of the issues men face is a lack of male teachers, we wanted to explain why everyone needs their own Mr Miyagi, not just the boys.
Now we don’t want this to sound like the ramblings of a whiny, embittered men’s rights activist, we’d hope the fact this piece was spell checked up the wahzoo would differentiate us enough from those guys. This is a piece merely trying to explain why geriatric Asian men teaching your children how to crane kick bullies in the chin is a wicked awesome while we draw a parallel to an issue that affects males, so everyone wins. Well except the bullies, but screw those guys.
First things first, official figures put the number of male teachers at such a low number they’re technically an endangered species, females hold over 75% of all teaching jobs. However, unlike the other careers in which there is a notable gender split, teaching puts the person doing the job in direct control of the emotional and academic growth of a young human being. This isn’t an issue of whether or not men and women are capable of doing to same job, it’s an issue of whether children will respond to whichever gender is teaching them.
For example what if we told you that there was virtually cost-free way to improve the grades of every child in the country by around 5% that didn’t involve electric shocks or carefully placed mines, you’d support the hell out of that, well unless you hate kids, in which case, screw you. Well, according to the research that could be as simple as having children study in an environment taught by someone of the same gender. Think about it, whenever a child is helped by a teaching figure in a movie or TV show, the teacher is almost always the same gender as they are. Dumbledore in Harry Potter, Liam Neeson in Star Wars, Miss Honey in Matilda. On the flipside, when there are children of different genders being taught, their teachers will invariably be of differing genders, think about it, Saved By the Bell, Glee, hell the rest of the kids in Harry Potter got taught by a freaking giant and a ghost. That’s diversity right there.
As discussed by people with half the two-thirds of the alphabet in front of their name, single gender classrooms are a hot topic issue because, though they do lead to high grades, they can affect the overall social development of children. Which is where Mr Miyagi comes in, who’s not just a teacher, but a role model too. If you remember the plot of The Karate Kid, Mr Miyagi finds Daniel-san when he’s a lost confused kid who’s just moved to a new city and is getting his ass kicked daily at school. He doesn’t just teach him, he offers him guidance and support in the form learning how to snap a man’s neck with his eyebrows along with dicipline and just plain friendship. Here’s a fun fact for you, over in the UK a charity decided to assess how well mentors were able to improve a child’s behaviour, wanna know the results? 98% of children had a significantly noticeable improvement and half of those again needed no further mentoring in just under a year. One year of having an awesome mentor, same gender or otherwise was enough to mold a child into the kind of kid you’d trust holding a scalpel to your chest in 30 years time.
So what has this got to do with male teachers, well-being a male teacher is apparently really rough since by virtue of having a wang a lot of expectations are placed on you. For example, male teachers are expected to be able to properly control unruly classes, even though that’s a feat only a man of Schwarzenegger proportions can manage without a shotgun. Along with that they’re also prone to something known as “ego bruising“, when they’re inevitably asked why they’re a man teaching young children and they have to see the person’s eyes they’re talking to slowly glaze over as they try to explain why. So not only do we have a shortage of male teachers, the ones we do have are disillusioned and disheartened about their chosen career and that sucks harder than an elderly billionaire’s trophy…vacuum cleaner. (Ha! Misled you.)
Kids today need their version of Mr Miyagi, a role model able to give them enough confidence to be the teachers of the next generation, enough confidence to dropkick the nuts off of the people who snigger when they say they’re a male teacher. So when they grow up and teach the next generation, they can be teachers and radical role models rolled into one.
Because that’s the point people seem to miss when they discuss the lack of male teachers, it’s not about the teachers at all, it’s about the children they’re teaching and how we can make them way more kick ass.
Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer you can hire! His work has been featured on Cracked, Toptenz and Gunaxin. You should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.