I was all set to write a touching and heartfelt letter to my baby (he’s 3 months old today WOW) but something has been weighing on my mind as of late. I have to get it out or I think I may just stay up another night working this blog post out in my head and not getting any much-needed sleep. So here it is.
I know someone who is amazing with young children. They are youthful, smart, creative, funny, educated and want so desperately to find a job in either elementary school or early childhood education but are having the WORST luck finding anything. I know the economy is shitty and I know that there are few jobs and many applicants. However, after many interviews and failed job meetings I’m starting to wonder if something else may be at play here, at least some of the time. You see this talented teacher is a HE not a SHE and this disturbs people.
There have been two instances recently where this topic has come up and the outcome of the conversation was that a man who wants to work with small children MUST be some sort of creep.
The first was with a lady from my building. She works as an ECE and I asked on my friend’s behalf if her workplace was hiring. “Sure,” she says. “But my boss won’t hire men. Parents don’t like it and neither does she.”
The second was a joke cracked in my vicinity about how all male teachers of young kids are just pedophiles. This “joke” was from a couple of moms who were talking about how glad they were that their kids ended up with a female teacher this year (grade 4).
Why is a guy teaching kids creepy? I know full well there are guys out there who do terrible things. I also know there are hundreds of guys who DON’T and who make great role models and mentors for tomorrow’s generation. Is this some sort of weird sexism? Women take care of young kids at home so should in school? Women are educators? Doesn’t seem to affect male high school teachers – only the younger grades. When did this thought of male teacher = pedophile become so prevalent?
It’s unfair for this assumption to be made but it’s made all too frequently judging by the websites I’ve come across. Comments abound where parents are upset that their young child is being taught by a male teacher. They worry the man is bringing violence into the classroom, that he’s a sexual predator or that *gasp* he’s gay and will turn their kids gay. Seriously, WTF?
I will not judge my son’s teachers on what’s between their legs but rather on their ability to do their job. To guide my son in his studies with innovation and understanding. To tap into his creativity in all things, to spark his imagination and to ignite his interest in math, science, art, music and more. They will be judged by my parental eye on many things but NEVER their gender. That’s the way it should be.
Perhaps we as parents who don’t mind having a male teacher in ECE and Elementary school should speak up. We should praise principals who hire male teachers. We should comment to ECE managers that we are open to male workers. We should correct both the assumption that woman = childcare and men in childcare = creepy. Perhaps then things will start to change for people like my friend. I’d be proud to have him as Babybean’s teacher anytime.