Meader, Kurt R. (2017). A shortage of male elementary school teachers: Exploring the perceptions of male teachers using Q methodology. Doctoral dissertation (Educational Leadership), Youngstown State University, Youngstown, OH, USA.

Abstract: There is a shortage of male elementary school teachers in the United States. Men who choose careers as elementary school teachers must be confident and ignore social barriers that keep other men from considering the profession. The current investigation seeks to understand the viewpoints of men who teach elementary school, a career predominated by women. This study addresses what influenced their career decision, what might deter males from teaching, what might be done about the shortage, and how might male teachers benefit children. This was the first known investigation on the topic using Q methodology. Data analysis extracted three distinct viewpoints: The Fixers acknowledged that men are expected to perform tasks in addition to teaching duties (such as being a handyman), the Mentees had an elementary school teacher who influenced their career decision, and the Aspirants aspired to teach from a young age. Results indicated that men have a strong desire to share their skills and passions, and they believed that men can make a difference. Serving as a male role model for children was important, but they did not want to be considered a surrogate father for fatherless children. Male participants disagree that gender predetermines a career, and they are not concerned that others might not see them as real men because they teach children. However, men must take precautions when working with children due to public scrutiny. Recruitment efforts are not known to participants. Many men make their career choice to teach elementary school later than most women. This study provides a review of existing literature, details the results of data analysis, responds to research questions, discusses implications and limitations, and makes recommendations for further research.

Kurt R Meader <> is Elementary School Principal and Adjunct Professor, Crawford Central School District, Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA.

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