‘If you're a male primary teacher, there's a big “why are you doing that? What is wrong with you?”’ Gendered expectations of male primary teachers: The ‘double bind’

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Abstract

The underrepresentation of men in non‐traditional fields of work is often attributed to essentialist gendered beliefs that associate such roles exclusively with women. This phenomenon is not limited to any specific country but is observed worldwide. Moreover, male teacher drop‐out rates remain a consistent issue. This article examines the detrimental impact of gendered expectations of masculinity on male primary teachers through interviews conducted with both male and female teachers in the UK. It argues that men in this occupation face a ‘double bind,’ being judged for conforming to hegemonic masculine norms while also facing judgement for deviating from them. All male teachers interviewed expressed feeling the pressure of gendered expectations, which primarily stem from one central misconception fuelled by traditional conceptions of gender; that the occupation is unsuitable for men. As a result, men who enter the profession encounter challenges not only related to their gender but also their sexuality and their sense of professional identity as teachers. Addressing the damaging role of gender beliefs is crucial in promoting the numerical representation of men in the teaching profession.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13145
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalSociology Compass
Early online date12 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • attrition
  • male primary teachers
  • double bind
  • masculinity
  • gendered expectations

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