This paper reports on the experiences of male primary school teachers in regional Australia. Drawing on 53 open-ended survey responses and interviews undertaken with five male teachers in Tasmania, the paper analyses their perspectives of their work and roles, and the additional labour of ‘career identity work’ through sport. For the men in this study, these additional roles find their antecedents in particular constructions of hegemonic masculinity where, on the one hand, they are expected to be ‘tough disciplinarians’ and, on the other, assumed to be ‘soft’ or ‘sinister’ for wanting to work with young children. Sport provided a safe context through which to manage such perceptions of their professional identity. Our study of teacher identities has wider significance for educators and policy makers to assist them understand and address the problem of low levels of recruitment and retention of male primary school teachers in Australia.