This article points to the complex context of what often is seen as both un- problematic and problematic simultaneously–men and teaching. In addition to brief words on the articles included in this special issue of JMS, the Guest Editors reflect on the contradictions, tensions, strategies and experiences of men who teach. This introduction aims to cultivate a greater awareness of the personal and political debates from which this collection of research arises so that educators may develop and harvest the great pedagogical contribution that men can offer–not just by being biologically male, but by recognizing the potential of modeling the multiplicity of manhood. The authors remind read- ers that a critical gender analysis of men in classrooms must serve the ultimate goal of improving the educational and social lives of children–both boys and girls.
Men and Teaching: Good Intentions and Productive Tensions
If you are a man and you walk into any elementary school classroom the children are very interested and excited about who you are. They ask questions, like, “who’s daddy are you?” or “why do you have a beard?” They are curious and want to know more about you. This curiosity arises partly from the rarity of the presence of men teachers1 in elementary schools. The low numbers of men teachers, and the habitual absence of a critical examination of the complexity of gender and education is partly what this special issue aims to address. We, too, have been curious about men teaching and have devoted our careers to education and to understanding the role that gender plays in educating children. As guest co-editors of this special issue on Men and Teaching, we hope to advance the discussions about the implications, contradictions, fears, frustra- tions, joys, and possibilities of men teaching. We want to know what effect having a man teacher in the classroom has, particularly for younger children. We want to tease apart the details of the related research and begin to examine the lives of men teachers. Our commitment to examining men in teaching is, however, ultimately about ensuring our gender analysis can foster better education for all students.Order the Journal.