In many western countries, government statements about the need to recruit more men to primary teaching are frequently supported by references to the importance of male teachers as role models for boys. The suggestion is that boys will both achieve better and behave better when taught by male teachers, because they will identify with them and want to emulate their behaviour. However, this has not been supported by research evidence. This paper draws on data from an ESRC-funded project involving interviews with 307 7-8 year old children in England (half taught by male and half by female teachers). Focusing on gender, it analyses children's responses about their relationships with their teachers and about figures that they would like to emulate (both in school and outside).