Through the power of his coffee mug: Negotiating a gendered, professional identity in primary school

Christopher Charles DENEEN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


Men who enter primary school teaching may encounter favored treatment and status. This can manifest in extraordinary privileges, exemptions from supervision, as well as accelerated promotion. However, the same societies and institutions that privilege male primary teachers may treat them with deep suspicion. Men who choose to teach young children may be perceived as gendered outsiders, embodiments of otherness. As a result, male primary teachers often have short careers in the classroom as they are promoted up or pressured out. This paper presents the case study of a male primary school teacher who has negotiated the gendered paradox of male primary teaching and stayed in the classroom. A post-structuralist perspective on gender is applied to the central research question: how does a male primary school teacher manage the intersection of doing the job and "doing gender?" Data was collected through a series of interviews. A modified grounded theory analysis was applied to the resulting data. Findings include the importance of negotiation and timing to establishing and maintaining a successful gendered professional teaching space. Copyright © 2011 Common Ground, Christopher Charles Deneen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
JournalThe International Journal of Learning
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011



Deneen, C. C. (2011). Through the power of his coffee mug: Negotiating a gendered, professional identity in primary school. The International Journal of Learning, 17(10), 195-204. doi: 10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i10/47310


  • Gender
  • Masculinity/Masculinities
  • Primary school teaching
  • Qualitative research
  • Teachers lives