Gendered workplaces : experiences of the beginning male teacher
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 authored by Teresa MooreTeresa Moore
In recent years there has been much talk about the ‘crisis’ in masculinity, the declining numbers of male teachers and imminent retirement of experienced male teachers from Australian schools. At the same time teaching has become a highly ‘feminised’ workspace where women have been positioned as nurturers, babysitters, carers and teachers. The boundaries between public and private spheres have been challenged as school and teachers increasingly take on roles that were once seen as part of the home or church (Barry & King, 2002). Discourses circulating in society (at a macro-level) and in school (at the micro-level) position male and female teachers differently which, in turn, have specific consequences. The female body is seen as a site of maternal care and is valued when women nurture; conversely the male body is seen as a site of action and strength and is valued when men protect the vulnerable as in being a soldier or peace keeper in these days of terrorism. There is a fine line between caring and protecting – women protect their children and are positioned as caring; men protect the country and are positioned as fighters. These contradictory discourses signal the rich, dynamic and fluid context of bodies, sex and gender and one dynamic context where these discursive constructions combine is the teacher or 21st century Learning Manager.