[MenTeach: Dr. Lynn E. Nielsen” focuses his work on recruiting male teachers. Here is one article about his teaching. You can another article about diversity here. And his story here.]
Following graduation, from the University of Iowa with a Ph.D. in elementary education, I clearly remember my aunt asking me very kindly but cautiously if when I completed my graduate work, could I get a “better job.” Of course I knew what she meant and I also understood where the question originated. Who ever heard of a man with a terminal degree teaching second-graders? Wasn’t that illegal or something. Wasn’t that “women’s work?” Wouldn’t i at least teach high school? Wouldn’t I take an administrative postion or find a job teaching “bigger students.” Teh answer was a definitive NO. I was not going to work with larger students despite the fact that I recently earned a larger degree. I was heading back to the classroom to teach second- and third- graders.
As I moved into the job with my shiny new title, “Dr. Lynn E. Nielsen,” I was eager to extend the writing I had completed for my dissertation research. As I began to look closely at aspects of my experience as an elementary teacher in a pre/K-12 setting, I soon discovered a series of institutionalized partitions which separated me as a primary teacher from my K-12 collegues. What I discovered was unsettling. At least five areas categorically rendered me second class by virture of my association with elementary education, an occupation socially and organizationally designated “female.”