Can you think back to how many males in Early Childhood Education (ECE) have you worked with or currently encounter? What is the communication like with males? It is different than when you address females in the workplace?
Nationally, only about 2-5% of the ECE workforce is male, so chances for interactions and conversations with male ECE professionals are limited. With females in the majority in the Early Childhood field men can often feel like a minority. If you are a male ECE professional, you may be the only one at your workplace, making relating to coworkers difficult at times.
We may all be able to agree that women communicate verbally more each day than men. Studies on the subject show females talking anywhere from 7,000 to 20,000 words on an average day compared to males speaking 2,000 to 7,000 words. At this rate, the typical quieter female is speaking the same amount of words as the most talkative male. Whatever your experience may entail, females characteristically talk more then males. Keep this in mind when communicating with men in your professional setting. It may just be one of the reasons for their reserved and/or quiet nature.
Male educators can provide extra benefits to the center’s/school’s population, assisting children, parents, coworkers and administration, including additional active movement (gross motor) play throughout the day. Men tend to allow male parental figures to be more comfortable interacting in classrooms and with teachers. What better way to teach children equality than by placing men in ECE positions along with female educators as well?
Possibilities exist to increase the number of males working in Early Childhood, but it is extremely important to determine how we can retain the limited amount of males currently employed in the field. At the Colorado Head Start Association conference in March 2012, I will be presenting along with fellow members of Men In Early Childhood - Colorado (www.mec-colorado.org). During our presentation, ideas and strategies to help us retain male ECE professionals will be discussed. Suggestions will include, providing social events (baseball games, hiking events, and holiday-related parties), educational seminars related specifically to male ECE professionals, and music camps for ECE children hosted by Men in Early Childhood - Colorado. Please attend the Colorado Head Start conference in March, including MEC’s informational presentation, to learn how you can build stronger coworkers relationships. What ideas do you have for increasing the number of males working in early childhood?