I recall a time as an undergraduate student in Sydney, Australia, when I was on a night out with other university students. A bartender asked me what I was studying, and I replied “I’m becoming a primary school teacher”. Without much expression in her voice, she responded: “I can’t imagine they would let you teach the little ones. That would be a bit risky”. There was a sting in her words and I knew immediately that she was referring to my gender; I was one of only three male students in my cohort. I wondered if others might share her view. As it turned out, the “little ones”, Kindergarten and Year One, were my favorite grades to teach. That one fleeting interaction stayed with me and became the focus of my scholarly work. Ten years later, and having since left the teaching profession altogether, in this essay I return to the question: Is teaching “too risky” for men in Australia?
- male teachers
- hegemonic masculinity