This research project utilized a mixed method design to examine the myths and realities which confront male elementary teachers in Oregon public schools. Five research questions were posed which investigated the motivations, career ambitions, hiring experiences, potential issues, working environment, and the benefits of male elementary teachers. The quantitative process utilized a survey of male and female elementary teachers in the Oregon public schools. Potential participants were chosen through a stratified random sample determined by the gender of the teacher. The response rate for both male and female respondents was 51%, which yielded samples of 159 male teachers and 92 female teachers. The qualitative process involved structured interviews with 12 male teachers to provide additional insights into the experiences of male elementary teachers. The key findings of the research can be summarized in these statements. Male teachers entered the elementary classroom because of their love for their students and the connections they are able to make with the students. Previous experiences with elementary-aged children were major influences in their desire to enter the elementary classroom. Most male and female elementary teachers chose to remain in the classroom and not become administrators. Several realities faced by the male elementary teachers were identified in this research: (a) male elementary teachers do not have an easier time being hired for classroom and administrative positions than female elementary teachers, (b) the threat of false accusations of child abuse is real, (c) male elementary teachers must identify positive ways of establishing relationships and boundaries with their students, (d) male teachers will be in the minority in most elementary schools, (e) there is a perception of a double standard for sexual harassment issues in which their female colleagues can share stories, comments, or jokes which would be perceived as harassment if said by a male teacher, and (f) male teachers are expected to be male role models for their students. School districts and teacher education institutions have the responsibility to prepare their male teachers and candidates for these realities.
Bonner, Robert, "Male Elementary Teachers: Myths and Realities" (2006). Faculty Publications - School of Education. 12.