Being Male in a Sacred Female Space
There is a perceived shortage of male teachers in education, particularly at the primary level where male teachers in Ontario account for only 10 of all primary/junior teachers. Fewer males than females apply to teacher training programs and even fewer still apply to become qualified to teach at the primary/junior level. Acceptance rates of males into such programs fall below that of female acceptance rates and fewer males than females remain teaching in the primary division following graduation despite being equally qualified to do so. Included among the many factors inhibiting males from becoming primary teachers are perceptions of heavy workloads, teacher stress, low status as a primary teacher and the idea that males might be unduly vulnerable to false accusations of sexual misconduct. This presentation highlights preliminary findings of research exploring the experiences of male primary teachers in Ontario. Results of an on line survey completed by 218 male primary teachers are discussed. As a follow up to this survey, qualitative interviews were conducted with 75 of the participants, and further in class observations were made with 9 of the participants in order to develop a holistic picture of the nature of their experiences. The findings are discussed in the context of what it means to be a male working with young children in a traditionally female dominated space. Implications for both male and female teachers, as well as for students themselves are discussed, with reference to both practice and policy.
Keywords: Gender Roles, Gender Stereotypes, Gender Equity, Stereotypes, Homophobia
Dr. Douglas Gosse
Professor, Junior/Intermediate Methods, Nipissing University
Prof. Michael Parr
Professor, Faculty of Education