From U.S. Marine to elementary teacher

by Matt Fridley

I would like to start by saying that I am a male first grade teacher. I am in my fourth year of teaching and all of my time has been in the first grade. I really enjoy working with the kids in first grade and I find that my job is more rewarding than anything I have ever done in my life. It would be hard for me to imagine myself doing anything else.

I started my college education when I was 29 and completed my degree when I turned 33. I had always thought of becoming a teacher, but making it a reality was not something that I thought I could do. My wife and I struggled as I went back to college. I am still trying to recover financially, but I wouldn't change a thing. Here I am at 37 years old working in a career where I have the opportunity to change lives in a positive manner. If you had told me back in 1987 when I graduated from high school that I was going to be a teacher, I would have laughed for a day. I graduated high school and joined the U.S. Marine Corps instead of going to college. As I look back, I am so thankful that my life has turned out the way it has.

I work in a school that houses K-4. I am not the only male teacher in the building. In fact, there is another male first grade teacher and a third grade teacher too. Working with other male teachers has helped me, but I have found that most of my peers are respectful and help me in many ways. My school is Wyman Elementary in Rolla, Missouri. Many have suggested changing the name to WyMEN.

The idea of promoting more male elementary teachers is important to me. I would be more than willing to work with your organization as you work towards this goal. Please let me know what I can do to help in your pursuit of this goal.

Sincerely,

Matt Fridley