Author: Karla Götz
News no.: 2017063

University wants to bring more men into Elementary Schools

Soner Uygun (on the left), who was a “teacherman”, is currently working on his doctoral thesis. Next to him is the project leader, Christoph Fantini and Kristian Bunte, also a former “teacherman”, who is now a fully-qualified elementary school tea

“Rent a Teacherman” is a project run by the Faculty of Pedagogy and Educational Sciences in cooperation with the Bremen educational authorities. The aim of the project is to give elementary schools in Bremen the opportunity to “hire” a male teacher for a while. It is an endeavor to remedy the present gender imbalance among teachers: In 17 of the 70 elementary schools in Bremen, there are no men at all. In the five years since it was started, the "Rent a Teacherman" project has attracted considerable public interest.

Sought after "teachermen"

Lecturer Dr. Christoph Fantini had the idea: Students of Teacher Education at the University of Bremen apply for a part-time position or work placement as assistants at elementary schools in Bremen. They first have to attend preparation courses offered by the Faculty. The students are flexible, build work groups, read with the children, or help with their homework. After a year in the practice, they can often work as co-teachers in the classes. It’s a great way to gain valuable experience for their later teaching careers. “More often than not, the school teaching faculty doesn’t want to see them go, so they then stay on for their regular period of in-school teaching practice”, says the project leader,

Interest is growing steadily

Just how well the guest “teachermen” are received by their colleagues and pupils is impressively demonstrated by the accompanying research. There are currently 14 “teachermen” working in Bremen schools, and the Senator for Children and Education has signaled her support to have the project continued. Evidently, according to Fantini, the image of the elementary school teacher is beginning to change. In the winter semester of 2010/2011, 16.9 per cent of first-semester students enrolled in Teacher Education for Elementary Schools were men. In the meantime, there quota has reached 22 per cent at the University of Bremen.

Exemplary effect in Germany

The Bremen project has been exemplary in Germany and is recommended by the Council of Europe as an example of “Good practice for gender equality in education”. On Thursday, September 7, 2017, a conference will take place in Haus der Wissenschaft with the title "Male-free Spaces". Key speaker is the expert on matters surrounding youth and education, Professor Klaus Hurrelmann from Berlin. The event starts at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.