Study Reveals that Pupils are More Likely to Behave for a Male Teacher than a Female

female teacher with student
Monkey Business Images /

A massive 79% of pupils have admitted that they were more likely to misbehave during a female teacher’s lesson than a male’s, a new study can reveal.

Research undertaken by educational course experts has looked at the difference in opinion when it came to male and female teachers from the point of view of their pupils. The course provider also looked at the varying opinions that teachers had towards male and female students. Questioning 1,215 high school pupils between the ages of 11 to 18 years old, and 758 teachers, sought to see what role gender played in the classroom.

The survey showed a tendency for male pupils to prefer male teachers (83% of male pupils questioned admitted this preference, compared to just 52% of female pupils). But the overall majority of students, or 67%, said they preferred “being taught by a male teacher”. This is because, in general, pupils find they are more motivated (61%) in a male teacher’s classroom as they associate words like “energetic”, “fun” and “interesting” with teachers of this gender. One 17-year-old male pupil admitted “I prefer my lessons with male teachers as they can banter with the students more. Women teachers are more serious and just focus on working”.

However, men did not totally escape misbehaving students, as 57% of male teachers had experienced some form of offensive language or anger directed at them in the past 6 months, compared to only 38% of female educators. Indeed, one of the male survey participants admitted that he had “a chair thrown” at him while he disciplined a male pupil during a detention.

Indeed, with words like “kind” and “sensitive” being associated with female teachers, pupils were more inclined to chat to friends in a female class (76%) but exhibited more violent behaviour in a male-lead class.

Pupils generally felt they would “get away with more” in a female educator’s lesson (53%). This is despite most pupils saying they found female teachers to be stricter (65%) and that they hand out “harsher punishments” (69%).

And perhaps there is some truth to this- for female pupils at least. The study showed that female teachers were more likely to dole out harsher punishments to their female pupils than to their male counterparts. Indeed 28% admitted they were more likely to reprimand a girl for chatting, compared to just 14% for boys.

female teacher with naughty classImage credit: wavebreakmedia /

The critical treatment of females by other women is often referred to as “queen bee syndrome”, which could explain this behaviour in schools. Expert on the matter Professor Allison Gabriel, has commented the following on this phenomenon “female-instigated incivility was reported more often than male-instigated incivility by women in our three studies."

Other interesting finds from the study include the fact that pupils were more likely to complete homework for a male teacher (78% more likely, in fact), this is despite 61% of pupils stating that the “scariest” teacher in their school was in fact female.   


Find the full results of the survey aimed at highschool students below.

Do you prefer being taught by a male or female teacher?

MALE 67%

Are you more likely to complete homework for male or female teachers?

MALE  78%

Are you more likely to listen to male or female teachers?

MALE 57%

Are you more likely to misbehave with male or female teachers?

MALE 21%

Do you feel that male or female teachers treat you more fairly?

MALE 42%

Is the scariest teacher in your school male or female?

MALE 39%

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