Teaching student Matt Zammit keen on primary career

Matt Zammit says he is keen to be a primary school teacher. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Matt Zammit says he is keen to be a primary school teacher. Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Fewer than a quarter of primary school teachers in the Illawarra are men, according to Department of Education figures.

Reflecting national trends, in 2013, 18.9 per cent of primary school teachers across the state were male, compared with 43 per cent of high school teachers.

In coastal NSW, which includes the Illawarra, the numbers were slightly higher, with men accounting for 24.2 per cent of the primary teaching workforce.

Bachelor of primary education student Matt Zammit, 26, said women vastly outnumbered men in his university cohort.

"I think the main reason [fewer men become primary teachers] would be the money side of things, I think most men might think it's better to run a trade or go into business," he said.

But the Flinders man has never been deterred from pursuing a career as a primary school teacher.

Mr Zammit said his decision was influenced by positive experiences with his own teachers while growing up, particularly the man who taught him in year 3.

"He was always my favourite teacher my whole schooling life. I had a connection with him, he was a good bloke and I've always remembered him," he said. "I think that year made me think I wouldn't mind being like him.

"The idea of helping children, being a role model in some sense, it's very rewarding."

NSW opposition education spokesman Ryan Park said it was important primary students had interactions with male and female teachers, as they brought different perspectives and strategies to teaching.

He called on the state government to look at more programs to encourage men to take up teaching, including better mentoring arrangements for male teachers during their training.

A Department of Education spokesman said the principles of equal employment opportunity were followed in teacher recruitment and promotion, and there were a number of strategies in place to attract people to a teaching career. He said the department depicted both men and women positively in a variety of teaching contexts as part of these strategies.

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