Adam the Teacher

Adam started off as a truck driver. Then about ten years ago, was floored by a serious illness brought on by exposure to methyl bromide being used to fumigate a container. That put paid to truck driving, and Adam cast around for a new career. Interestingly, all early childhood men teachers are on a second career. He had been a boy scout and had participated in several church youth groups and liked the idea of working with young people. Adam enrolled in AUT to study early childhood education, obtaining a B of Ed. And he is currently working as a relieving kindergarten teacher in the city.

“My passion is teaching” says . “I enjoy helping children to extend their knowledge. Being a teacher gives me the opportunity to help children understand new meanings, concepts and facts. I provide a male influence for children; 30 to 40% of children in one parent families have no man closely involved in their lives. I have experienced evidence of this a number of times, and on one occasion a child said to their mother ‘this is my new dad’.”

“As a man working in a profession that must be a nurturing one, through my  presence and actions I challenge the images of men as aggressive, powerful, unemotional and one-dimensional . Children ask me to be involved in their play and talk to me as though I am one of them. I notice that they closely watch my body language and actions. Children new to the centre often watch me comfort another child until they get used to the sight of a man nurturing children.”

“As a man, I can bring a different perspective to problems and issues at a centre. I can expose sexism in a centre’s environment, such as a lack of activities to challenge boys. A man can bring a balance by incorporating more activities such as carpentry and other masculine trades. Give a couple of kids a brace and bit and they can make a sizable hole in a tree stump! Some fathers wouldn’t even know what a brace and bit is.

“As a male teacher I am more physically active and boisterous, and more involved in outdoor play. I run around outside with the children and they like to play touch rugby with me.” Adam has even made camp fires for the children to make toast, something they had never enjoyed before. He sometimes grows a beard just to show the boys how men shave.