male discrimination

I am a male and was just hired 2 weeks ago at a daycare center in hawaii as a co-lead in a toddler classroom. on my first day of employment, i was told by my co-lead to just take care of the male children when it comes to diapering/pottying. i had my suspicions, so the next day i approached my director. i basically asked why i was to only diaper the boys in the classroom and she was straightforward with her answer. she told me that some parents were not comfortable with me diapering the girls so it was best for me to just diaper the boys. i understand where the parents are coming from, but it seems like my director did not defend me. not only does it not seem fair to me, but it just doesn't seem fair to my co-lead as well. we currently have 12 children; 4 boys and 8 girls. that would leave my co-lead diapering twice as much as i do every time. she already told me that she had complained to my director about the situation. when other teachers found out, they were outraged and told me i should fight it.

i feel as if i was labeled as a child molester from day one. what should i do?

update

i just want to update you folks about the situation. well...about a week after posting this topic, i approached my director again. we talked about it and she agreed that i wasnt informed of the situation appropriately. that was probably my biggest gripe about the whole thing. although it may be ignorance on the parents part, i expect it as a male in early childhood ed field. my director told me which parents had the trust issue and recommended that i speak to them.

i didnt think confronting them was the right thing to do, so took it one day at a time, making small conversation with them every morning at drop off time. diapering was no problem because the two girls who i specifically was warned about, are already potty trained (parents weren't even aware that they could use the toilet on their own). i was able to strengthen the parent/teacher relationship effectively this way. just today, one of the parents who had complained about me when i first started, gave me a thank you card saying how much she is glad that i am one of her child's teachers. when she gave it to me, she kept going on and on about how much her child enjoys coming to school (vs. before i started my employment at the center) and how much she's grown and had learned since i became her teacher.

i am just so much happier now than when i first started. i am so glad i stuck it out. oh and thank you all for your support. =)

Fantastic

I really admire how you dealt with a very challenging situation.

Well done and such a great model for everyone else.

Bryan

The challenge of being a male working with toddlers

What frustrating experiences!

It IS discrimination. It's not likely that the local government will take it on nor the programs. The difficult part about this problem is - what will you gain.

My suggestion is to talk with the parents. Help them get to know you. Show them the book about Essential Touch by Frances Carlson: http://www.menteach.org/product/books/essential_touch .

Keep in touch and let us know what you figure out.

Bryan

we are in the same shoes

Hi There,

I worked with preschool age group for 2 years. My boss told me not to be alone around children during toileting and sleeping.

I felt like a shit. She said that parents don't understand why there are male workers in daycares. I didn't agree with her and I told her that this is a discrimination so I left my job.
Basically, my boss told me to shut up and do what I have to do. This is one of the best (top) daycares in Ottawa, Ontario. One of the oldest and most respected etc. I remember that I said to her to put hidden cameras everyone because I, as an ECE, will do my job 100% or I will quit.

Now, I am working with school-age children in a different place. But still I am thinking of moving on and doing something else.