Confessions Of A Male Preschool Teacher

As a 29-year-old man who works with very small children, I stand out.

Devin Lipsitz holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Sarah Lawrence College. He teaches preschool at the Smarter Toddler Nursery & Preschool and is currently pursuing a second Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education at the Bankstreet College of Education.

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“You teach preschool?” people say when I tell them what I do for a living. They’re often as incredulous as if I’d told them I was a private investigator. When I visit my hometown of Buffalo, New York, my grandfather still asks, hopefully, if I might consider going into school administration one day: “Wouldn’t you like to be a school principal?”
 
I can tell that my granddad, a successful labor lawyer who founded his own firm, doesn’t consider my job quite manly enough. “Not really, Grandpa,” I say. “I like being in a classroom and working directly with the students.”
 
As for my students’ parents, I get along perfectly well with most of them. It helps that their kids love me and I’m enthusiastic about my job. But the truth is, relative to my women colleagues, I’m under heightened scrutiny. Men who want to work with children are still seen as unnatural, even slightly suspect. No one notices when women hug kids, but alarm bells go off when we see a man with an arm around a child who isn’t his. This is why I’m very firm with my students about physical boundaries. It’s sad but often necessary in the course of my day to tell a three-year-old to stop trying to hug me.
 
You’d think that being a young, straight guy who works with kids would at least have worked to my advantage with the ladies, back in my single days. But that was never quite the case. Some women thought it was sweet that I work with kids, and considered it a sign that I’d be a good father someday. But in the end, many of them were also put off by my not-exactly-commanding salary. (I’m thrilled to report that I married a wonderful woman in July—a social worker who respects what I do.)         

So why do I persist in doing a job that earns me relatively little in the way of respect, and even less in the way of money? Because I love kids, and I think that they benefit from having role models of all stripes. It’s good for children to see that women and men alike can go to work and read stories and prepare lunches. It’s important that they realize as early as possible that a person’s role in life doesn’t have to be determined by his or her gender.
 
Most of all, I want to help create a society that’s as open as a young child’s mind. Little kids believe anything is possible, until we tell them otherwise. I’d like to help them hold onto that belief.
Posted by Jeff Barth on Apr 28, 2014 10:46 AM America/New_York

Blog Post Comments

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Thanks for sharing this Devin. A very interesting perspective and one that certainly makes me think. As my wife and I research day care centers and potential pre-schools, we have not come across any male teachers and I do wonder why?
  • Posted Thu 01 May 2014 02:26 PM EDT
Thanks Devin, for bringing up a important question. Its the same problem in Sweden, very few men work at preschools and Its really sad that when a man hug children many people react. We have had a lot of discussions about that the last year and I think its scares young men from working at preschools.
  • Posted Sat 10 May 2014 12:58 AM EDT
Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts with us. Working in a preschool is really difficult for men. I totally agree with your statement that society need to change their mind towards male teacher's feeling for their students. He is also a human and have feelings for kids and have right to love and care them. Also, also a teacher need to maintain a proper environment in class, know more on https://esdabuse.com/
  • Posted Wed 28 Nov 2018 05:49 AM EST
Devin, You have shared a great post about the Male preschool teacher. It is very that many male teachers don't like to teach at pre-school. Men who want to teach children's are still seen as unnatural. I also think that this becomes scary for male teachers to teach at the preschools. By the way, I really like your confidence in sharing your feelings with us. Thanks
-Tina LV  
Tutor at SmileTutor
https://smiletutor.sg/blog/
  • Posted Thu 29 Nov 2018 06:15 AM EST
Very nice post. I really enjoyed reading this post. Male teachers also have feelings of love for their children and I think society needed to change their mind to male teachers. Thanks for this post. Also, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Harwood_(priest)
  • Posted Sat 08 Dec 2018 07:08 AM EST

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