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.

Name and address supplied

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today