© 2016, Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. All rights reserved. Primary teaching has traditionally been framed by assumptions about gender. These commonly held, but seldom voiced, assumptions have a strong impact on male primary schoolteachers and on men considering teaching as a career. Focusing on the lives of five Irish male primary teachers, this article unpacks a number of the assumptions relating to men who teach children at primary level. Many of the assumptions are often shrouded in silence, which increases the difficulty in addressing them. In this context, discussions surrounding the topics of care, men working with young children and teaching as a feminine occupation, are presented. The study employs three data-collection phases using the interview as the primary method of enquiry. Overall, two major challenges were identified: informal barriers and the concept of care in education. The study’s findings show that gender relations within a feminine environment are central to understanding masculinities in primary schools. This article makes a contribution towards revealing how issues of masculinities are navigated and negotiated on a daily basis. Allied to this, it also provides a context for understanding the challenges male teachers face on a continuous basis. This article is published as part of a thematic collection on gender studies.