Men. We are an anomaly in education, I get it. The lower the grade, the rarer we are, but many of us have found places where we are cherished, even celebrated. Recently, on the blog’s Facebook page (really, the community is there), another male in early childhood education posted the following:
How I wish I found a place where male co-workers are treated as equally as their female co-workers…
Well, naturally this saddened me, but also got me thinking, in some regards, he isn’t wrong. I would be lying if I said in my time in early childhood education I haven’t experienced some negativity. To be clear, there are folks out there who, regardless of your gender, don’t want to see anyone shine bright. Their own insecurities cause them to pick away at your joy and try to bring you down from your natural high. Again, to be fair, I have female friends in education who have experienced this as well. Being a male just makes you stand out a little more, perhaps an easier target.
A dear friend of mine explained it so eloquently. She said, “Sometimes folks feel like if you take a piece of the pie there won’t be enough to share… they want more of the pie for themselves. What they don’t realize is everyone has their own pie.”
My advice to this reader, and anyone else feeling others are trying to bring them down, don’t let them. Try to surround yourself with people (yes, mostly they’re going to be ladies) who respect you and honor your choice to work with young children, after all, isn’t it the same choice they’ve made?
For me, the real key hasn’t just been finding a place where the staff supports me, but my administrator does as well. If your principal (or director, or whatever they are called where you work) values you they will support you and deny others from chipping away at your joy. If all else fails, know this: Your value is unlimited and if you don’t feel it where you are, leave. There is another place where you will be celebrated. Go find it.