This is the question my son asked me as I was driving him home from school yesterday. My first reaction was to laugh, “Yes! Boy teachers exist, Max!” I did not laugh when he calmly replied, “Well I’ve never seen them, but I’ve seen a lot of girl teachers.”
He is right. Do male teachers exist in early childhood education? They certainly do not exist in his school. They did not exist in the schools I have worked in. In fact, if a male teacher were to apply for a job in a preschool chances are he would be overlooked. Why? He’ll be seen as odd. He’ll be seen as a pervert for wanting to work with young children. It is discrimination and no one takes it seriously.
A friend of mine works as a director for a local childcare center. Her employer will not let her hire women over 35 or any men. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. Many early childhood centers have this unspoken policy. The question remains: how does this affect the children, in particular, boys?
Studies have shown that boys do better academically with male teachers, but it is not likely that they will see a male teacher until they are in high school. Perhaps, if there were more male role models in our preschools, boys would start to declare that they want to be teachers, just as often as girls do. Boys might get expelled less often and enjoy school more. I would not worry as much that my son is getting in trouble for being too active.
I think the first step to encouraging more male teachers in the younger grades is for parents to be more understanding. A male kindergarten teacher is not a pervert. He has a love of learning and he wants to teach 5 year olds. He can be just as understanding and nurturing as a woman.
In the mean time, my son will continue to think that the male teacher is a myth and he will continue to look at me strangely when I tell him that he could be a teacher if he wanted. Why? Because boy teachers aren’t real.
- Jillian Mak posted a blog post (bloggymoms.com)
- Child Care and the Economy – Macroeconomic Trends and Key Issues Impacting Childcare and Early Childhood Education (prweb.com)