Re: non-traditional males (Yes)

Janice Wallace (
Thu, 2 Apr 1998 15:16:01 -0500 (EST)

In Ontario, Canada there is a relatively long history of promoting more
equitable distribution of positions within educational hierarchies. After
many years of policy "encouraging" higher numbers of females in
administrative positions, almost nothing changed. Even after affirmative
action policy was put into place, change continued to be glacial. In
contrast, affirmative action policy encouraging more males in elementary
positions--particularly through pro-active admissions to highly
competitive positions in Primary/Junior progrmas in faculties of
education--was almost instantly implemented by boards of education and
men were actively courted for scarce teaching jobs at the Primary level.
Yet, despite these advantages, men simply self-selected themselves out.
That is, while many women were highly qualified and desired
administrative positions, they were shut out by the system. However,
men were actively sought for Primary positions by the system but they
found it incredibly difficult to work outside society's "script" for
male behaviour. The price some men pay for doing so is very high. For
example, many of the men that I encounter in my work as a teacher educator
who are teaching in Primary grades report suspicion about their sexual
orientation, etc., etc. One of our male Primary students was accused of
inappropriate sexual touching by a parent when he responded to a child's
distress out on the school yard while on yard duty. Anther reports a
friend of his who is teaching kindergarten who had a father remove his
daughter from his kindergarten class. Homophobia is very much the subtext
that these male teachers must contend with whatever their sexual
orientation. So, I guess what I'm saying is that our experience here in
Ontario suggests that in the instance of males teaching in elementary
schools, affirmative action has not been enough to ameliorate prejudice
against the nurturing male, nor to encourage their wider participation in
elementary schools, despite broad support from educational systems.

Janice Wallace <>

> I believe the elementary school teacher example is strong one, and one to
> focus on. By getting more males into this profession, we expose more children
> to men in these roles at a young age. This serves to reinforce boys images of
> men with positive role models. With that as one goal, we also see many more
> motivations for integrating this profession by sex. I think that all of the
> traditional reasons for affirmative action apply to this field and I think
> that we should push this as a means to get more men into elementary school
> teaching.
> Robert Weverka
> <>

new message to this message