Being Male in a Sacred Female Space

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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
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Perils of Being a Male Primary/Junior Teacher: Vulnerability and Accusations of Abuse, The


Dr. Douglas Gosse

Professor, Junior/Intermediate Methods, Nipissing University
North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Douglas Gosse teaches in the pre-service teacher education program at Nipissing University, North Bay, ON, Canada, specializing in Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior Curriculum Methods. Douglas ’ research topics investigate questions of identity construction, hidden curriculum, queer theory, male studies, fiction writing, storytelling, and the creative research process of writer-researchers.

Prof. Michael Parr

Professor, Faculty of Education
Education and Schooling 
Special Education, Nipissing University

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Michael Parr currently teaches in the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and brings with him considerable experience working with students ‘at risk’ as well as those students identified as having specific emotional and behavioural disorders. His wide variety of teaching experiences in both segregated and regular classroom settings, as well as his experiences as an administrator, have been instrumental in serving as a springboard into his research addressing the needs of students ‘at risk’. Other research interests center around teacher education, and educational leadership & change with emphasis placed on practices that foster Inclusive schools and issues of equity and social justice.

Ref: D08P0028