Examining the Roles of Male Teachers of the Year in the Elementary School Setting



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Background: Although only a small percentage of male elementary teachers exist in elementary education, some of these teachers excel in their craft, being named Teachers of the Year for their respective campuses. While there is a plethora of research regarding male elementary teachers and their challenges they face in this particular environment, there is a scarcity of studies on such teachers who have encountered success and recognition for their impact at the elementary level. Purpose: This qualitative study aimed to determine how male Elementary Teachers of the Year's practices have aided in their achievements and learn how their principals and their students’ parents view their roles and impact on their campuses and children, respectively. Research Questions: The study addressed the following research questions: (1) How do male elementary school Teachers of the Year describe the elements to their success in the elementary school setting? (2) How do elementary school principals describe the role of their male Teachers of the Year in the elementary school setting? (3) How do parents of these teachers’ students describe the characteristics of their children’s teacher as an Elementary Teacher of the Year? Methods: I conducted this qualitative study through multiple one-on-one semi-structured interviews with three male elementary school Teachers of the Year, each of their principals, and a parent of one of each of their students. I coded the initial interview transcripts through Dedoose to gain insights on various themes within the participant responses. These emergent themes guided me in creating follow-up questions for each participant, both with questions on the common themes from the groups and participant-specific questions based on their responses. Results: All three teachers, although receiving a campus and district recognition for their services, maintained their focus on building relationships with their students, parents, and colleagues. Their voices noted their humble attitudes in receiving campus-wide recognition. The principal participants all reported their teacher’s ability to serve as positive male role models. In the cases of participant Teachers of the Year of color, their principals noted the significance of race as an aspect of their role modeling for their respective school communities. The parent participants emphasized their appreciation for the teacher’s willingness to consistently maintain communication lines that extended past school hours and through various methods. Each parent also noted the teacher’s determination to help support their child, and themselves, by extension, beyond the classroom doors. Conclusion: Male elementary school teachers possess the ability to connect with students and provide a positive male influence in their lives at a young age that can create relationships that will prove beneficial in both the short- and long-term. As they may encounter challenges from perceived stereotypes that either question their teaching abilities or that overemphasize their abilities to “fix” behavioral challenges in students, it is imperative for administrators and educators at the elementary level to understand these perceptions to best support male elementary teachers to become successful and effective elementary educators in the future.



male, elementary, roles, characteristics, success