I will be seventeen years an educator this August 20th. I am particularly proud of my career, due to the fact that whilst training and my early days in the field, many told me that it will be a struggle for me if I continued in early childhood. Some told me, TAFE teacher no less, that perhaps it was a field I should not bother getting myself into. It was based solely on one fact. They said I had a wonderful rapport with children. I was praised constantly by parents about the bond I would build with their children. I was told I was hard working. Some of those TAFE teachers told me I was right for the job, but still not to do it. It was just the one fact – my gender.
I have been fortunate to be welcomed so warmly to each service I have worked at over the years. I have found all family members and fellow educators happy to have a male educator at their service. Because everyone was so kind, I have been able to get involved in the children’s education and development, not face concerns or worries that I was told most blokes working with children would deal with.
There were basically 3 “issues I’d have to deal with,” being a man, I was taught during my tertiary education. #1 – women are the ones ‘designed’ to bring up and educate children and men are not built for it, #2 – men are the ones who need to bring home the pay check and this field doesn’t provide a high enough salary, and #3 – there was a perception that we should be suspicious of men who are around our children.
In my experience and personal opinion, none of these were real hurdles to get over. I have worked with so many wonderful female educators and teachers in my time; the early childhood field would not be as highly esteemed these days without them. With a rough guess, I’d say I’ve worked with close to a hundred women and I only had issues with one. This woman also had an issue with fathers being considered as primary carers, and that’s her right to have her own opinion. The other ninety nine were so wonderful to work together with. Women and men working together for the benefit of the children’s education will see them thrive the best they possibly can. Men can do this job as well. They can be caring, compassionate, sympathetic and thoughtful. If you are a male with the passion to be involved in children’s early years’ education, I implore you to look into a career in the field. It is worthwhile.
In 2020, stereotypical roles are changing. They are still there, but they are waning. It doesn’t surprise people today if they see a woman mowing the lawn or a man washing up in the kitchen. (My wife would probably like to see that more often in our kitchen!) But those jobs that were expected of certain genders in the past are no longer the status quo in the present, which is a positive thing. It’s absolutely a possibility for a female to work more hours than the male in a relationship. It would not be out of place for the woman to even be the sole provider of income in families. Gender equal pay rates and early childhood educators’ wages are for another discussion, but I don’t do this job for the money. It is what I have always been passionate about and I feel everyone should be in a career that they enjoy. And if your partner is making more money than you and it works for your family, do the job you’d love to do.
There have been people who found men working with their children unusual. Early childhood has always been mainly a women’s industry. It is something different when you walk in to see a guy digging in the sandpit or reading books to the children. Things that a different make people feel uncomfortable at first, in any situation in life. What I have always done, is prove to parents I’m worthy of caring for their children. I get to know families, show them I’m passionate about teaching and I develop connections with the children. I strive to make the families comfortable with me, in and that, make them comfortable with male educators.
I want to assist in making a male educator in a service a normality, not an oddity.
I’d like to say to any guys wanting to working in the field to do so; it is a very rewarding occupation. Again, thanks to all the families of Maryland Care and Early Education for being so welcoming to me, allowing me, a male in early education, to educator and connect with your children.