Date of Paper/Work
Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)
Type of Paper/Work
Kathleen M. Boyle; Sarah J. Noonan; Thomas L. Fish
“How do men express and make meaning of their experiences in an elementary school setting?” Gender, sex role theory, and tokenism provided the foundation for understanding how male elementary teachers express and make meaning of their work experience. Male elementary school teachers from two Eastern Minnesota school districts, and one Western Wisconsin school district, participated in phenomenological research that included personal interviews, and focus group interviews. Participants described their lived experiences through these interviews, guided by a loose framework of open-ended interview questions. Demographics included fourteen licensed elementary teachers, grades kindergarten through sixth, with a wide range of ages (27-61) and experiences (4 years to 38 years), and racial diversity representative of the geographic location. Participants emphasized their entrance into the elementary teaching profession, advantages they realized due to their gender, how they experienced working with children, experiences related to role modeling, companionship with male colleagues, their desire to have more male teachers, and their struggles fitting into a feminized elementary school setting. Men also reported several challenges attributed to their gender and connected to their work as male elementary school teachers. Although male teachers appreciate, and sometimes long for male companionship on the job, they are generally comfortable as members of the underrepresented gender, and enjoy their work. However comfortable they are, male teachers do struggle to fit into the elementary school setting, and adjust their behaviors in order to minimize these struggles. This study unveiled the contradictory experiences male elementary teachers realize, as evidenced in the dichotomy between gender challenges and benefits, in their relationships with students and colleagues, and in their ability to be themselves.
gender identity, gender roles, elementary schools, feminism
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Schurman, Nate J., "Caught in the Middle: Understanding the Experiences of Men Elementary School Teachers" (2015). Education Doctoral Dissertations in Leadership. 60.
Educational Leadership Commons, Elementary Education and Teaching Commons, Liberal Studies Commons, Other Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Other Teacher Education and Professional Development Commons