Overcoming The Odds: Exploring Barriers and Motivations for Male Trainee Primary Teachers

September 2017

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, 62 (2017) 30-36
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The present study explored what motivates male trainee primary school teachers for the profession. It also investigated the barriers they face and how they have overcome these barriers.

The participants were six male students studying on a Post Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) course for primary education at a University in Northern England.
The authors conducted a semi-structured interview with each participant.

Authors found three themes, which were related to potential barriers participants faced.
The most significant challenge that male trainee teachers faced is the issue of physical contact with children. The participants maintained that gender of the teacher played a role in whether physical contact with the children was deemed socially acceptable.
Furthermore, the authors found that negative outsider perceptions were the second important barrier that male trainee teachers have to overcome. The participants noted that they are aware of the negative perceptions, highlighted by the media, of male primary schools teachers.
The third barrier faced by male trainee teachers is working within a female orientated environment. Many of the participants noted that working within this environment could be isolating.

The authors argue that three themes also emerged as motivators for the participants that enabled them to overcome the barriers they faced.
The first motivating factor was perceiving the teaching profession as a positive career choice.
All participants noted that they enjoyed and gained a sense of achievement from teaching at primary school.
The second motivating factor was experiencing a supportive working environment.

The participants also noted that being perceived as positive role models also helped them to overcome the challenges they faced.
The authors conclude that the participants were able to overcome the challenges in their chosen career. This was possible with the motivations that they stated were supporting them.

Updated: Apr. 08, 2018