FEAR and uncertainty about physical contact with students is a major concern for many male primary school teachers.

Last year we shared that a former teacher, Vaughan Cruikshank, hopes his recent research will help younger men deal with the issues male teachers face.

Dr Cruikshank, of the University of Tasmania, recently completed a PhD looking at the challenges male primary school teachers face, and asked experienced male teachers in Tasmania how they coped with those challenges.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 600 out of 2989 primary school teachers in Tasmania are male, or about 20 per cent.

Dr Cruikshank said there were three main challenges male primary school teachers face: fear and uncertainty about physical contact, expectations they perform masculine roles, and social isolation, reports The Mercury.

“Dr Cruikshank said worries about physical contact with students, including fear of false accusations, was male teachers’ No. 1 one concern”

“[For] some their strategy was ‘I do not make physical contact with my students full stop’,” Dr Cruikshank said.
“Others wanted to be similar to their female colleagues, and not teach their students that only females can hug [students].”

Those teachers would ask the student’s permission to touch them if they were responding to a first aid situation and would use handshakes and high fives in other situations.

“If they had a group of students or children in class they were generally unworried — it was only when they were one-on-one,” Dr Cruikshank said.

“They were quite concerned their female colleagues could build stronger relationships with their students through that physical contact.”

I think male or female it is important that children are shown compassion! My boys have both had male teachers over the years and I do find that some struggle with that gentle, compassionate touch that kids often need.

The Demise of Male Teachers?

Experts predict there will be no male teachers in the classroom after 2067.

A hot topic on one Sunrise episode last year was how research claims teaching is not a masculine profession.

Say what?!

Kids need male role models and quite often for many that come from the classroom. Don’t take that away.

Do we think it is more the fear of being accused of inappropriate behaviour with students?


Do you think male teachers will one day be a thing of the past? (I hope not!)

Share your comments below

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  • Yes, I can see how hard it would be to be a male teacher. It’s not easy for women either, but I guess males could come across more challenges


  • The biggest concern for male teachers would have to be……being a male! Young girls getting a crush on them and things quickly roll out if control


  • Children really do need positive male role models in their lives and male teachers can be great role models. There should be strict rules of behaviour for both teachers and students in order to avoid problems.


  • I am a female teacher and I find it saddening the lengths our male teachers have to go to, to keep themselves safe especially when students these days need so much love and care from their teachers.


  • All of my male teacher friends have jobs. ALL of them. The kids love them. They are sought after.
    But they do not hug the kids unless the hug is initiated by the kid.
    The only reason male teachers would be a thing of the past is if all the teachers are replaced with robots – which will probably happen just not in our lifetime.


  • It’s sad and ridiculous that we have come that far. There are very thorough checks done these days and even though some may get through the cracks I still don’t think that there should be any issue with a brief hug to comfort a kid. Some of my best teachers in school were male.


  • I certainly hope we don’t see the day when there are no male teachers! Both male and female teachers have so much to give and teach – not just from an educational point of view! I think it so important for all children to have the best of both worlds!


  • I hope that male teachers never will be a thing of the past ! They are important role models indeed.


  • I certainly hope they won’t be a thing of the past. They can often be very useful to people who may not have a male figure in their life. Some of the male teachers I have met have such passion for their profession.


  • Wow. That’s really sad. Females can do inappropriate things too, and do. Ridiculous as sad.


  • One of my best teacher was male!


  • Male teachers are so vital. They are amazing role models and I love that my children get to have a male teacher. In fact, all 4 of my primary school aged children have a male teacher this year and I’m so happy.


  • my son wants to be a teacher, the way the world is going it won’t happen


  • I really hope there will still be male teachers!!


  • I hope that male teachers will always be here. My youngest was having problems at school as he suffers from anxiety. In grade 3 I told his female teacher this and that to help with that anxiety he just needed to know what subjects were to be done that morning. Her reply? I don’t have time to pander to this. He will be told as we go through the day. My son started coming back home 10 minutes after I dropped him off at school. He would wake of a morning vomiting and couldn’t keep food down and always threw his lunch away so I never had to worry. Luckily he only had her for 2 months but he was a mess. The next term I took him to school he had a male teacher. I spoke privately to this teacher and told him if he couldn’t find my son then he would have run home and I’d bring him back. He asked me if he could try something. While I was there he introduced himself to my son while there were no other students. He said that he was new and a bit nervous so would my son mind sitting in the front and let him know if he was doing things right but not to let any other pupil know. The outcome was that my son was the first one at school, the last one home and he just blossomed into the wonderful boy he is now. So do I think there will be no male teachers in the future? There’d better be.

    • Thank you for sharing your beautiful story Tessie.
      Teachers are special but some are even more special and caring than others.
      I hope and pray that the day male teacher cease to exist NEVER comes.


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