MenTeach E-News - August 2015

MenTeach E-News
August 2015

1) Men we need you most in early childhood as a father figure in Malaysia
2) Increasingly, male teachers found at head of elementary class
3) Men in Early Childhood: Fathers & Teachers
4) Male teacher drought may hurt boys in Australia
5) 2015 Conference in Norway: Boys and Girls in No Man's Land
6) Sport brings male teachers together in New Zealand
7) First day of school for a male teacher
8) Why don't more men teach kindergarten?
9) 300 Male Teachers - A short video
10) Editorial: Gifts of a Mentor

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1) Men we need you most in early childhood as a father figure in Malaysia
As time pass by and our society in Malaysia has changed their mindset, it is no longer awkward to see men working in early childhood education area. They are administration staff doing management of the centre or as full time staff and also part time staff, children will enjoy them. Read the letter: http://www.menteach.org/node/2674

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2) Increasingly, male teachers found at head of elementary class
Each weekday, students filing into Denver's Ashley Elementary School come face to face with a relatively rare educational experience.

They call it by name: Mr. Johnson. Mr. Heath. Mr. Walters.

In all, eight of 18 instructors at the K-5 school are men, a proportion that far exceeds the statewide average of 15.6 percent of elementary school teachers — most concentrated in grades five and six.

"Anybody who works with little kids knows they need input from both sexes," says principal Kenneth Hulslander, who assembled his staff by keeping an eye out for promising male talent among visiting substitutes and student-teachers. "I look at it as being part of the learning experience for my kids."

Throughout the U.S., men traditionally have shied away from the elementary grades — for reasons ranging from low pay and low status to stereotypes that cast them as less nurturing than their female counterparts and the fear of accusations of inappropriate behavior.

"I think there's this assumption that there's a certain maternal quality needed to be an elementary school teacher," says Peter Vigil, assistant professor of elementary education at Metropolitan State College of Denver. "A lot of men can't get past the idea that it's a wiping- noses and herding-cats kind of thing."

But once in the classroom, do men make a difference? Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/2675

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3) Men in Early Childhood: Fathers & Teachers
The inclusion of men in early childhood programs has garnered considerable attention over the years. This interest is due to three related trends: 1) the lack of men—usually fathers—in the lives of many of our young children, 2) the dearth of men in the early childhood field, and 3) an increased interest in father involvement in early childhood programs. While almost everyone agrees with the need to get men involved in the lives of young children, solutions to this dilemma are few and far between.

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), 97 percent of teachers in pre-K programs are women; the same figure was reported in a Center for the Child Care Workforce study (2002). And, according to the National Education Association for Elementary Teachers, only 13 percent of elementary school teachers are men, and these men mostly teach in grades 5 and 6 (Cunningham & Dorsey, 2004). In this article, three related issues that affect this problem will be discussed: the female culture and feminist politics of the early childhood field, what men, both teachers and fathers, really want, and the debate regarding whether men are suited to be good teachers of infants and young children. Specific suggestions for incorporating men and fathers into early childhood programs will also be included. Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/2680

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4) Male teacher drought may hurt boys in Australia
There's plenty to be said for life as a primary school teacher: a decent starting salary, quick career progression, enviable working conditions and more leave than you can shake the proverbial stick at.

Add to that the low barrier to entry, with teaching degrees having among the lowest Australian Tertiary Admission Rank scores, and you'd think there'd be no shortage of candidates lining up to educate our offspring. But for a variety of reasons, men are shunning the opportunity to become teachers, and that could have dire consequences for boys.

If you have primary school-aged children then you're acutely aware of just how few male teachers are in the system. Latest figures show that eight out of 10 teachers in primary schools are female. Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/2682
 
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5) 2015 Conference in Norway: Boys and Girls in No Man's Land
Many children will never encounter a male employee in their early years of care and education. Does it matter? Asker municipality in Norway has labored for many years to increase the number of men in childcare. It is our belief that children should be entitled to meet both men and women as teachers and caregivers.

To this end, we will be hosting an international conference in Asker 21-22 October 2015.  Read the announcement: http://www.menteach.org/node/2684

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6) Sport brings male teachers together in New Zealand
Blokes are strapping on their boots and going from the classroom to the rugby field for friendship and support.

Counties Manukau Men in Education is helping form networks of male teachers for sporting events and professional development.

The group formed in May and is one of three such support networks around the country.

Drury School teacher Nick Gage is one of the coordinators behind the initiative which now has 37 members, including six principals, from 19 schools throughout South Auckland.

He decided to get the group up and running after hearing of programme's success in Waikato and Gisborne.

"I emailed around 60 schools in the Counties Manukau region. We had 15 members at the start... recently it's increased as guys are telling more people about it now.

"I'm getting good feedback, not just from the guys but from the principals in the area." Read the editorial: http://menteach.org/node/2685

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7) First day of school for a male teacher
The hallways at Kingston Grade School are decorated with monkeys and a rainforest canopy. The elementary school's back-to-school theme is "Wild about Learning," fitting for the jungle that can be the first few days of school.

The school definitely feels like a jungle for Cameron Davekos. Wednesday, Aug. 12, was not only the first day of school, but it also was his first day at a new school – and his first day as a teacher.

Davekos is the school's new third-grade teacher. Davekos received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Northern Illinois University in December. Although he has experience teaching as a student teacher and as a substitute teacher, standing in front of 26 third-graders on Aug. 12 was the first time he lead a classroom of his own. Read his story: http://menteach.org/node/2687

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8) Why don't more men teach kindergarten?
I neutered God in my family's dinner prayer. It's the same prayer I recited growing up as a Lutheran, but now that I'm raising two girls, I switched out the "father in heaven we thank thee" to "we thank thee." I want my daughters to be grateful, but I don't want to assign a gender to a God before they're old enough to form their own conclusions about him. Or her. Or if one exists.

It's not about making a theological argument; it's about perpetuating patriarchy in the minutest of ways when, by virtue of being girls, they'll face enough disparities later. Plus, I had noticed I was guilty of using "he" as my de-facto pronoun. Over the coming days, I caught myself as I regularly referred to turtles, ants and bees as "he's." As did my eldest, who is 5.

"Oh poor guy," she lamented when we saw a flattened snake in my neighborhood.

We had neutered God but not her creatures. I made a conscious effort to refer to more insects, animals and birds as "she's." Weeks later, we saw a hawk and my daughter said, "She's so beautiful."

"Why do you think the hawk is a she?" I asked.

"She just looks like one."

I gave myself a parental pat on the back. In the weeks before kindergarten, my daughter wondered about her teacher.

"I hope she's nice," she told me.

"I'm sure she will be," I told her. Read the article: http://menteach.org/node/2689

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9) 300 Male Teachers - A short video
Not sure if you have seen this hilarious video but I think it¹s powerful and well done. I posted it on our Men's Org page.

Watch the short video: http://www.menteach.org/node/2692

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10) Editorial: Gifts of a Mentor
Cool fall-like August mornings certainly create a 'back to school mindset'. For me, the change in the weather incites me to prepare my mind and heart for another school year. Also, fall is a time to reflect upon my own personal voyage as a teacher. When I reflect upon my journey there are still certain teachers whose images flash in my memory. From kindergarten to college, to my role as program director in higher education, each year there is at least one teacher who I would consider a mentor.    

A mentor can be defined as someone who is an experienced and trusted advisor who guides another to greater success. When I read that definition of mentor, I am mindful of someone who has served in this capacity through my years of teaching. What I have realized is that the mentors we have had could also be considered our favorite teachers. Read her editorial: http://www.menteach.org/node/2693

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