Right man in the wrong job

19th August 2005 at 01:00
I will be starting my primary PGDE later this year. In recent months, however, I have started to become more negative about my chosen career path and I don't feel that this negativity is coming from within me but is being imposed by outside forces - because I am male.

There has been some publicity recently about the risks now facing men in education, particularly when they enter the primary sector. The risks are said to be the harrassment and intimidation men face from female colleagues, and the higher risks of false accusations against male teachers. One male trainee is quoted as saying he would no longer enter the staffroom because he felt "awkward".

It appears that only three men graduated in primary from Edinburgh University last session, the reasons given being societal perceptions and assumptions about the oddity of men wishing to work with young children.

These factors put off many men from entering the profession: indeed, I have had somebody automatically assume I must be gay because of the career choice I am making.

I am relatively young myself, but have had nothing but positive experiences working with kids, thus spurring my inclination to teach. However, I have started to become conscious of what other people are thinking about my "odd" choice of being a man who has opted to become a primary teacher. I find myself becoming more and more self-conscious as I announce this to people, and have started to worry about how successfully I am going to be able to fit into the primary school environment just because I'm a bloke.

I know it is often drummed into us not to give two hoots about what others think of us, but I now can't help thinking that a sizeable force (friends, future teaching colleagues, parents etc.) are going to treat me with suspicion because of my career choice. Perhaps things are not as rosy in primary for men as some people have led me to believe they are.

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