Educator Perceptions: The Impact of Male Elementary School Teachers

Rod Matthew Garcia, California State University, Monterey Bay

Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department


Male teachers at the elementary school seem to have stagnated over the years, hovering between 18-20 percent levels. Much commentary and popular press articles attribute this phenomenon to the notion that elementary school is a female occupation. As a male elementary school teacher, I wanted to explore the reasons why this might occur and to find out if what was true for my male colleagues was also true for me. This phenomenological study examined the potential impact male elementary school teachers have within their professional environment. Data collection included in depth interviews with male teachers as well as meaningful conversations to discern perceptions regarding role and function. Results from the data indicated that male teachers view themselves as an important and viable entity within a predominantly female elementary school environment. The investigation also corroborated current research regarding gender differences and how those differences impact instruction, decision-making, and interaction at the elementary school level. Perceptions discerned from the interviews provided an enhanced understanding of the complexities of the role as well as the importance of gender balance and equity in order to provide male students with not only role models, but with differing points of views, attitudes, and most notably, teaching styles. It also provided an opportunity to reflect on my practice as male teacher and the impact I can make now and in the future.