Male Elementary School Teachers' Ratings of Job Satisfaction by Years of Teaching Experience

By Klecker, Beverly M.; Loadman, William E. | Education, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Male Elementary School Teachers' Ratings of Job Satisfaction by Years of Teaching Experience


Klecker, Beverly M., Loadman, William E., Education


Teaching in American public schools in grades K-12 is largely a female pursuit. Discussions of the diversification of the American teaching force, have generally focused on two areas: (1) the under-representation of people of color in the teaching force and (2) the under-representation of females in administrative positions (Montecinos & Nielsen, 1997). Few researchers have chosen to focus on the need for more males in the teaching force. The scarcity of male teachers as student role models is a subject of concern at all levels, but it is of particular concern in the early grades (Wood and Hoag, 1993). National statistics of teacher demographics indicate that the national teaching population is 72% female and 28% male. However, the gender statistics are even more disproportionate at the elementary level. Fewer than 2% of pre-K/Kindergarten and 14.6% of elementary teachers are male (Snyder & Hoffman, & Geddes, 1996). This lack of male role models in the early years of schooling may be a limiting factor in recruiting more males into the profession. Mancus (1992) found that male elementary teaching candidates reported that male more than female teachers influenced their views of teaching as a profession. The percentage of male elementary preservice candidates seemed to be rising in the 1970's (Schalock, 1979), however, this proved to be a very temporary trend. In 1991, the percentage of male teachers was at its lowest point since the National Educational Association first measured the male-female ratio in 1961 (Feistritzer, 1991, cited in Gamble & Wilkins, 1997). Gamble and Wilkins (1997) asked administrators of 62 teacher education programs in New York State why there were a disproportional number of male students in preservice elementary education programs. These researchers reported:

   In general, the comments made by professionals at the college level
   indicated that because elementary education is a traditionally female
   occupation, accompanied by low salary and low prestige, men are deterred
   from elementary teaching. This means that changes must be made to the
   perception of elementary education as a "female" profession (p. 191).

Is elementary school teaching a satisfying career for men? There have been very few studies looking at job satisfaction of male elementary teachers beyond the preservice and entry levels. In a study with a sample of 2225 recent graduates from 12 teacher education programs who were employed as teachers, Loadman and Klecker (1993) found that ,when asked about plans for "five years from now" male teachers were more likely than females to be planning a career move to school administration (14% of male respondents; 3% of female respondents). Brookhart and Loadman (1996) compared the ratings job satisfaction of 1,098 recent graduates of teacher education programs. They found that among four comparison groups (1) female elementary teachers; (2) female high school teachers, (3) male elementary teachers, and (4) male high school teachers that female high school teachers rated their job satisfaction the highest and male elementary teachers rated their job satisfaction the lowest.

The Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to extend the research on male elementary school teachers beyond preservice and first years of teaching. Research questions that drove the study were:

1. What aspects of teaching do elementary school teachers find the most and the least satisfying?

2. Are there gender differences in job satisfaction ratings of male and female elementary teachers?

3. Are there differences in male elementary school teachers ratings of job satisfaction across years of teaching experience?

Method

This was a descriptive, cohort group, research study using mailed survey questionnaires.

Sample.

The sample for the study was 4,428 elementary teachers working in 129 Venture Capital schools. …

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