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These two personal observation snap- shots speak to a few of the key themes emerging from Professionally Speaking's examination of the changing demo- graphics of the teaching profession in Ontario. Many things have changed over the past 20 or so years, and others, like the age of teachers and where they are located, remain relatively unchanged. However, as the data reported here will show, there are two areas where inter- esting shifts are taking place: gender balance and racial diversity. An increasingly female profession Women have outnumbered men in teaching for many years, particularly in elementary schools, and the trend toward a higher proportion of female teachers continues. In 2014/15 there were four times as many women as men teaching in elementary schools. In secondary school teaching women also outnumber men. A similar trend can be seen across Canada. According to data from Statistics Canada's household survey, 84 per cent of Canadian elementary teachers and 59 per cent of secondary teachers were female in 2011. (Statistics Canada data may not be comparable to the Ministry of Education data.) Some education stakeholders have expressed concern about the relative lack of male teachers in elementary schools. In Narrowing the Gender Gap: Attracting Men to Teaching, a College report published in 2004, the auth- ors noted that both "men and women are needed to ensure excellence in teaching," and that "there is a discern- ible need to address a growing gender gap through the implementation of policies and plans to attract men to the teaching profession." Doug Gosse, professor of education at Nipissing University agrees. In 2011, he co-authored a paper with fellow professor Mike Parr, based on a survey of 223 male teachers. "Over 90 per cent of our respondents felt that male teachers have unique qualities that are of value to students, often using fam- ilial metaphors like 'father figure' and 'big brother,'" says Gosse. "Most also felt that men who want to teach early grades face barriers such as mislead- ing perceptions about men who want to teach young children. About one in eight of our respondents said they had already been suspected of inappropri- ate contact with pupils." It's also fair to say that the lack of men in elementary teaching may re- flect a historical gender imbalance that goes back to the days when elemen- tary teachers were paid considerably less than their secondary colleagues. And if the lack of male teachers in elementary schools is a problem, then most Western countries have a bigger problem than Canada. Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that, in 2015, Canada actually had a higher proportion of male elementary teachers than all other Western coun- tries with comparable female labour force participation rates. ILLUSTRATION: KATIE CAREY

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