Insights Into the Lived Experiences of Three Male Elementary School Teachers

Thumbnail Image
Cota, Arthur
Elementary Education , Gender Issues , Male Teachers , Role Models , Physical Contact
The purpose of the present study was to understand the lived experiences of three male elementary teachers working at the Kindergarten to Grade 4 level in a single school district in northwestern Alberta. The study investigated how the participants saw their roles as male elementary teachers, the work-related challenges they faced, and how they responded to those challenges. Three male teachers with single-grade assignments ranging from Grade 2 to Grade 4 participated in the study. The participants were asked to reflect on various aspects of their experiences of teaching in the traditionally female-dominated profession of elementary education. Data were collected through individual interviews with each participant between May 2011 and June 2011. Data were analyzed with respect to the participants’ approaches to physical contact with students, their attitudes about role modelling, and their perspectives on men in elementary education. Andrew, Brian, and Peter had various degrees of physical contact with their young students with most of the physical contact in all three participants’ classrooms being initiated by students. All three participants saw role modelling as an important task for male elementary teachers; however, they tended to model socially acceptable human behaviour for all students rather than attempting to serve as “father figures” who modelled stereotypically male attributes for male students to emulate. Finally, all three participants were hopeful that more men would decide to enter the profession in the future.
External DOI