This paper attempts to answer the question of whether or not male teachers positively affect male students being raised by single mothers and vice versa.
Via a literature review, personal interviews and extensive data analysis, this paper examines what effects the increase in female-headed households has on male elementary school teachers, particularly those in the primary grades. The paper additionally examines how male teachers construct their own masculinities on a daily basis, how they perceive their dramatic under-representation in the occupation and what meanings this arrangement has for them. Finally, it describes their feelings and ideas about the issue of increasing the number of males in elementary teaching, and whether or not they feel it is unfair for single mothers to place too much “role model” responsibility on their shoulders.
“Some students go through their first six years of school without ever encountering a male teacher (Cohen, 1990). Because of the small number of male teachers, it is thought that schools do not offer boys enough models of male behavior. Today many boys, especially the sons of single mothers, lack such models in their lives, which has caused many single mothers raising boys to purposefully seek out elementary schools where their children can find male teachers, so that they will have at least one male role model in their lives. However the question remains as to whether or not male teachers are critical to a fatherless child’s emotional and academic development.”