Men learning to be primary school teachers
Few men choose to become primary school teachers. Those who do move into a world often thought of as feminised and contend with a publiclyvoiced rhetoric which simultaneously idealises and demonises them. It has not been the norm for women to research men. I am setting out from a different place as a woman and former primary school teacher writing about men doing women's work in what can be seen as a man's world. The problem I am tackling is embedded in two questions. First, how do men student teachers negotiate the assum ptions made about them as men and teachers of young children? Second, what theoretical perspectives are necessary for me to write about individual men students' complex relations with being a teacher? I turn a spotlight on men student primary school teachers and, working with data from interviews with eleven men, shed light on them as gendered individuals challenged by the task of learning to be teachers. The text I construct enacts their and my moves to establish a voice amidst a complex criss-cross of discursive positions. Individual men have an evolving and often contradictory relation to teaching, which they seldom articulate. There should be space for them to reflect critically on their professional identities. The ambivalence, emotional investment and paradox in the men's narratives cannot be understood without recourse to their and my developing understandings of masculinity and difference, learnt through language which can maintain or challenge inequalities and which interrelates with social and cultural contexts which have histories.