Search
Close this search box.

“A Few Good Men or a Few Too Many?”

Search Entire Website
early childhood teacher with infants

The Original Massey University Research Study of Male Teachers (1997)

“A Few Good Men or a Few Too Many? A study of Male Teachers” by Dr Sarah Alexander was the very first – and original – research report on men in early childcare and education in New Zealand.  

The research report resulted in media and public attention to the difficulties that men were experiencing in working in early education and it showed the adverse effects of public fear about child abuse on men’s participation in the sector.

The report presents the findings of an exploratory study of the characteristics, views and experiences men and their colleagues at 20 early childhood centres in NZ. Twenty men and their female co-workers working at 10 kindergartens and 10 childcare centres were interviewed. 

The results showed that in most respects the backgrounds and training of the male and female teachers were similar. A key difference was that male teachers tended to be the main income earners in their household whereas for female teachers early childhood teaching provided a second household income.  The majority of men entered the profession as a result of unemployment or redundancy.  For the men early childhood teaching was a second career choice after they had tried other more traditional options.

The main reasons given by the male and female teachers for male under-representation in early childhood teaching were:

  • Fear of child sex abuse,
  • Low wages,
  • The perceived feminine nature of the work,
  • Low social status of the professions,
  • A lack of career structure, and 
  • Public perception that men who work with children must be either homosexual or not real men.

Male teachers had a tougher time than their female counterparts. Their own families and friends tended to be less supportive of their decision to become teachers.  They were more likely to have difficulty in gaining employment, and they experienced greater levels of suspicion from employers and parents.  Male teachers tended to feel isolated at times because their colleagues were women.

All male teachers viewed their participation in early childhood teaching as valuable for helping children to see that men can care and teach young children. It increased awareness of sexism in the curriculum and in (female) teacher expectations. Female teachers liked having male colleagues on the teaching staff and there were few reported issues.

Read the full report: Study of Male Teachers – A Few Good Men

Has this been useful?  Give us your feedback.

You are welcome to add a link to this page on your website. Copyright belongs to the OECE so please do not copy any content without our written permission.

Information provided is of a general nature. It is provided ‘as is’, and we accept no liability for its accuracy or completeness. See our Terms and Conditions.

Related Posts

NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education journal

Exploring Early Childhood Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices in Emergent Literacy

Research on how NZ early childhood teachers encourage children’s literacy and raise achievement in literacy. Read the full paper below. Or to order a pdf copy of the article go to the main NZIRECE Journal page.

Read More »
NZIRECE Journal early childhood education research

Index for the NZ Research in ECE Journal, 2010, Vol 13

The titles, authors and abstracts for papers published in the NZ Research in Early Childhood Education Journal, Volume 13, 2010 are shown below. To view any paper, scroll to the end of this page for copies. Editorial Andrew Gibbons and […]

Read More »
paintings

January 2024 pānui for educators

Please do not copy or share this pānui. Member information is for members-only. Please also keep your password for login secure and do not let anyone else use your login. Contents Protecting the skin and eyes of babies and toddlers […]

To access this member only information, you must purchase Teacher Membership.

Read More »
NZ International Research in Early Childhood Education journal

Developing Curriculum for the Early Years: A Perspective from Bangladesh

This paper gives a narrative of the emergence of early childhood education in Bangladesh, a country with 156.6 million people. Reference is made to the NZ Te Whāriki and Australia’s Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Read the full paper below. Or to order a pdf copy of the article go to the main NZIRECE Journal page.

Read More »
The Office of ECE

Share This Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Office of ECE Login

Take Action!

Help spread this vital ECE information, join our free social and email groups and become a member of OECE.

pay parity funding policy

1. Share This Information

2. Follow Our Social Pages

3. Get Regular Updates

Sign up to our free newsletters.

4. Become a Member

Public Area Categories
Categories