Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Studies


Barbara V. Strobert, Ed.D

Committee Member

Constance McCue, Ed.D

Committee Member

Luke J. Stedrak, Ed.D


Teacher Gender, Male Elementary Teachers, Middle School Teaching, Duane Brown, Values-Based Occupational Choice Theory


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of male middle school educators regarding the prospects of teaching at the elementary level. A semi-structured interview approach was employed in an effort to assess the factors that lead 12 male educators into middle level teaching positions. Subjects were recruited from diverse public school districts in northern New Jersey and each held elementary and middle school certification.

The interview instrument for this study was based on both existing literature surrounding the absence of males in the elementary teaching ranks as well as Brown’s (2002) value-based theory of occupational choice and satisfaction. The latter served as the conceptual framework around which this study was designed.

Four themes emerged from this research. The theme, nature of manhood, describes the often-cited differences perceived between men and women and how those differences impact subjects’ perceptions of the teaching profession. The theme, nature of students, reflects perceived variation between elementary-age students and the middle school-age pupils currently under the tutelage of the subject pool. The theme, nature of work, refers to the idea that elementary and middle school teaching positions each require unique energies and dissimilar pedagogical skills. Finally, the theme, stigma, speaks to the perceived impact that teaching younger students either could or would have on the reputation of a male in the role of elementary school teacher.

This research has implications in the areas of teacher training and teacher recruitment. The findings offer a rare glimpse at the perceptions of an educational minority—male elementary teachers.