MenTeach E-News - January 2016

MenTeach E-News
January 2016

1) Where are the men in Israel’s early childhood education?
2) One Man's Early Childhood Education Journey from 1976 to 2016
3) Too few men want to teach, United Arab Emirate (UAE) minister says
4) America's Extreme Need for More Black Male Educators
5) Male teachers face shocking prejudice
6) A Male Teacher's Story - "My Road Less Traveled"
7) A fundraiser: Stories - Men in Early Childhood
8) Some Australian schools are experiencing an extreme shortage of male teachers
9) More men in early childhood education in New Zealand
10) Book Review: Male primary teachers are pushed into stereotypical leadership roles – can you guess which ones?

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1) Where are the men in Israel’s early childhood education?
Israel is lagging behind other Western countries with regard to gender balance in early childhood education, according to Dr. David Brody, academic dean at Efrata College of Education in Jerusalem.

Brody has spent most of his career focusing on early childhood education, teacher training and academic research. He recently sat down with The Jerusalem Post to discuss the role of men in early childhood education and his research in the field of gender balance, which he began some five years ago.

“I decided to look at this from an international perspective, and I was interested to see if culture makes a difference,” he said.

He identified a male teacher in each of six countries – Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Switzerland, the US and Israel – and went to each country to interview and observe them working and interacting with children in the classroom. He also spoke to experts on gender balance in each of the countries.

According to his findings, in Israel today there are about 40 male teachers in early education in the public sector, among 17,000 women. In the private sector, Brody estimated that there are an additional 300 to 400 men, though this number seems to be declining. Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/2792

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2) One Man's Early Childhood Education Journey from 1976 to 2016
1976 - After graduating with a BS in Early Childhood Education (I was one of three men in the early childhood department at a state university in Connecticut), I remember the day when I got my first teaching job - teaching in a multi-aged primary Open Classroom. Many of you have probably never heard of Open Classrooms. Think of a gymnasium where there are four different classrooms, one classroom in each corner. Can you see that? No walls – no privacy- no way to hide your mistakes. That was my first teaching experience.

When I taught in that multi-aged classroom I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world - mainly because I got a job. (In the 1970s, teaching jobs were not plentiful) My “classroom” consisted of 20+ kids aged 5-9 while the other part of the school was the preschool for children ages 4 and under. If someone came into our school they really could not distinguish the difference as we often mixed children for different learning activities. It was a very progressive idea as we really taught to the individual level and styles of each child. What a concept! Read his story: http://www.menteach.org/node/2794

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3) Too few men want to teach, United Arab Emirate (UAE) minister says
No Emirati men have enrolled for degree courses in teaching at United Arab Emirates University in the past three years, the Education Minister told the FNC yesterday.

"It is a big challenge," said Humaid Mohammed Obaid Al Qutami. "We have been recently working with helping pupils to go into education. Hopefully in the next phase we will see an increase in male teachers."

The minister was responding to questions from council member Musabah Al Kitbi (Sharjah), who said that of 9,000 Emirati teachers registered with the ministry, only 600 (7 per cent) were men.

"This is an old problem," he said. "I believe there has been a failure to convince men to enter the field of education."

He said the complete absence of new trainee teachers raised "a thousand question marks".

"What does it mean? If the minister sees the question as normal, I, as a local, see the issue as very, very, very important."

He suggested a bursary of about Dh5,000 a month for male trainee teachers, to be repaid if they later chose not to enter the profession. Read the article: http://menteach.org/node/2795

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4) America's Extreme Need for More Black Male Educators
Recently, a friend sent me a YouTube video of a group of students stepping during homecoming. The video didn't appear any different than the dozens I have received throughout the year. But after looking closely, I recognized a familiar face. One of my former middle school students was helping her sorority sisters lead a stroll. What a great feeling to watch someone you taught and mentored defy the odds and achieve a level of success. Few people watching the video could understand the trials and tribulations this young lady had to overcome. Read the editorial: http://www.menteach.org/node/2797

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5) Male teachers face shocking prejudice
Men deserve a break. Normal men.

Not the Mitchell Pearces' of the world, who are a disgrace, but the men who are trying to make a difference in our kids' lives every day. Men like our own husbands, brothers and sons.

Thousands of Perth parents are breathing an almost-guilty sigh of relief this morning as school goes back for another year. The holidays have flown by and for many there may now finally be a few minutes of uninterrupted peace.

At the same time, thousands of Perth teachers are ready for the new school year and wondering what daily challenges lie ahead for them.

Sadly, for male teachers, one unfair challenge is the creeping assumptions and sniggering developing in our society - just because they happen to be male. Read the editorial: http://www.menteach.org/node/2799

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6) A Male Teacher's Story - "My Road Less Traveled"
"The students are so lucky to have you" is something I heard over and over when I was teaching elementary school. While I believe this is true, I also felt lucky to have had the students. I know that I learned every bit as much from my students as they did from me.

I compare my thirteen year career teaching elementary school to the poem: "The Road Less Traveled", by Robert Frost. At the end of the poem, the narrator states that he is telling about his choice with a "sigh." Let me explain this--as only a teacher would. Just as I taught my third graders, we must look for clues from the text to determine the author's meaning and purpose (making inferences). Even after discussing this very poem in Literature Circles (yes, third graders are capable of evaluating Robert Frost), many of the students came to the same conclusion that many adults do: it is nearly impossible to know for sure whether Frost intended the sigh to be a disappointed sigh or a happy sigh. I believe this poem was written to reflect the reader's own purpose. That is to say, that Frost is allowing the reader to use his/her own text-to-self connection--another skill I taught my students--to determine his/her own meaning.  (Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is not measured on "high-stakes" tests). Read his story: http://menteach.org/node/2800

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7) A fundraiser: Stories - Men in Early Childhood
Men in Early Childhood - Colorado is partnering with Cora Communications on a digital storytelling project to share the stories of men working in ECE. The project will involve hearing stories from men with various roles inside the ECE field. Examples of jobs included in the project will be from teaching staff, administrative staff, coaching positions, family support roles, technology, and government positions. The project’s goal is to allow the ECE community to hear directly from these males. Although all ECE professionals have the ability to contribute their individual strengths and contributions to the field, this project will specifically focus on hearing from men.

For those of you unfamiliar with digital storytelling, it revolves around the idea of combining the longstanding art of telling stories with any of a variety of available multimedia tools, including graphics, audio, video animation, and Web publishing. Read the about the fundraiser: http://menteach.org/node/2802

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8) Some Australian schools are experiencing an extreme shortage of male teacher
Callum Gardner is used to seeing raised eyebrows on the football field when he tells his teammates his profession. But as a male in a predominantly female-dominated industry, he is no stranger to this surprise.

Mr Gardener, who started his first teaching job at Wagga’s Lutheran Primary School this year, spent four years sitting in university lecture rooms filled predominantly with women.

"A lot of people are shocked when I tell them I do primary teaching, but I love it, I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.

For Mr Gardner, the ratio poses no problem, saying he was used to being the minority and that being a male teacher was something he was passionate about.

"It doesn't feel that unusual to me now, because during my placements and at university it was always dominated by women, so it’s something I’m so used to now,” he said.

“I had an amazing male teacher when I was in primary school and he was a huge role model, so that really drives me to try and be a role model for other young children.” Read his story: http://menteach.org/node/2804

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9) More men in early childhood education in New Zealand
Four years ago: A keynote speaker at the Early Childhood MenZ Summit in Wanganui said it was heartening to see that men are now realising a career in early childhood education is a viable option.

Dunedin Early childhood education lecturer Tagiilima Feleti said the number of men showing interest in early childhood education was growing rapidly.

The summit held at Born and Raised Pasifika Early Childhood Centre in Aramoho recently was a huge success, he said.

It was the first time the summit, which has been held annually for six years, had been held in Wanganui and more than 100 early childcare workers, mostly men, attended. Read the article and comments: http://www.menteach.org/node/2805

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10) Book Review: Male primary teachers are pushed into stereotypical leadership roles – can you guess which ones?
Talented male primary school teachers are being devalued because they get pigeon-holed into running sports classes or looking after naughty kids, a new book has claimed.

The authors of Men Teaching Children 3-11 investigated gender stereotyping in deprived schools across the north of England and London.

They found that men were often stereotyped into four roles in the primary school community — sports leaders, role models for naughty boys, disciplinarians and school leaders due to early promotion.

Co-author Dr Elizabeth Burn, a retired primary teacher, told Schools Week: "Children and teachers are judged on their genders rather than teaching capabilities — we are wasting talent. And it's not getting any better."

When she recorded the experiences and opinions of male primary teachers, one Asian infant school deputy head told her that he was given a place on a PGCE teacher course just because he was a man, without a formal interview.

A course tutor "took one look at him" and called a colleague to say "we've got another one!"

The teacher felt the "another one" referred to his gender. He also thought his ethnicity had helped. Read the article: http://www.menteach.org/node/2807

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