TRY IT Tuesday: Increasing the Number of Male Educators

In our last blog entry, we discussed men (or the lack thereof) in the child care field. Only 4.4% of all early childhood professionals are males, yet men represent around half of the population. Research studies have found that children (boys AND girls) benefit from having both male and female educators. Boys in particular have improved academically and socially after being taught by a man. By recruiting more men into the classroom, the early education field will surely provide a more diverse and balanced experience for young children.

Are you ready to TRY IT? There are lots of ways to increase the number of male educators in the system. Fathers: volunteer in your child’s classroom this year and participate in a few school activities (attend parent-teacher conferences, join the PTA). Parents: encourage boys AND girls to become educators. Providers: reach out to fathers/men in the community/grandfathers/etc. to recruit teacher and/or volunteers for your classroom. Anyone: advocate for higher wages for educators while also highlighting the important work that educators do.

*If you are an early childhood professional, you can attend a special workshop on this topic at our annual conference in October. “Making Your Program Boy-friendly, Father-friendly and Family-friendly (& it’s good for girls too)!” will be facilitated by Bryan Nelson from MenTeach. Learn more and register for the conference here.

Men as Child Care Providers

When you think of a child care professional, do you ever picture a man? In her New York Time parenting blog the “Motherlode”, Lisa Belkin discusses her surprise when she found that several men had applied for a “childcare” position she had advertised for at her home. You can read the entry here. Since reading Lisa’s blog, we have found a lot of media discussing men (or the lack thereof) in the child care field.

Bryan Nelson, the founding director of MenTeach in Minnesota, recently recorded an online radio segment on the topic. You can listen to Nelson’s “Where are all of the Men?” here. The recent interest in this issue has brought a spotlight onto an international group of early education experts who hope to create a gender balance in the field. The “Working Group on Men in Early Childhood Education” (MECE) has met over the last 4 years to explore barriers men face in joining the field, stereotypes that exist about men in the field, and strategies to increase male participation in the field. To learn more about this group, visit their website here.

What do you think? Why are so few men in the early childhood education field? What can be done to improve gender equality? If you have a story about efforts to recruit men in the field, we would love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and share your strategies.