Gender Dynamics

Gender Dynamics / Gender and Teacher Identity, Motivation and Well-Being / Teacher Masculinities and Male-Gender Identities

Teacher Masculinities and Male-Gender Identities

In times of conflict, displacement, refugee life, etc., male teachers may experience changes in their sense of self, as well as in their professional identity. The Healing Classrooms assessment in Ethiopia highlighted how young male refugee teachers experienced a shift in gender roles as they fled their homes and were separated from their families. For example, they are now forced to wash their own clothes and cook their own food for the first time in their lives, whereas previously their mothers or other women did this work. Such identity challenges may leave male teachers feeling somewhat "off-center." These teachers may anger easily and lack patience with their students, especially if the men feel frustrated that they cannot do some of the things that are usually expected of men in their community, such as earning money to support the family.

Of course, most men who experience identity challenges and changes during crises do not misuse their positions and power to abuse or exploit children and youth. Some male teachers now performing non-traditional gender tasks become strong advocates for more gender equality in the school; for example, giving girls and boys tasks such as classroom cleaning or providing more opportunities for young women to engage in traditionally male skills training programs.

Reflection/Discussion: In your context, what changes in male roles and responsibilities have occurred? How do these changes affect male teachers in particular?