Just listening to a discussion on the radio about male nannies. The general feeling is that having men work with young children is a good thing. No argument there!
However, the reason given is not because men are 50% of the population and it's good for children to spend time with both men and women so they can start to see both sexes as equal. The reason is that 'men and women play differently' - men are more 'rough and tumble' and kids love that Oh and some boys are growing up without a man in the home and they need a male role model in order to develop normally and not grow up gay. Or something
I really do get sick of all this essentialism - men do this, women do that - in the same way as I can't stand people talking about how boys and girls are inherently different. I really think that putting people into boxes based on their biological sex is stifling and unfair - what happens to people who don't 'perform' in the way they are expected?
Any thoughts on this issue?
Oh and a nursery manager has just been on saying that men are easier to work with because they don't 'pull faces' when you ask them to do things, and she is sick of female members of staff going off with 'anorexia and stuff like that'
<bang head against very hard surface>
Lottapianos, can I have the name of this nursery manager? Perhaps she can train my husband.
On the topic - I always wonder why there are no male nursery workers and childminders. I've never seen one at least. Is the profession considered so incredibly masculinity-destroying? I struggle to get my head around it. It is storage as I see plenty of men around me who are very fond of children.
Unfortunately most men realise how difficult it is to be employed as male childminders/ nannies.
The fact is, we may be logical, rational people but many are unable to justify their desire for a male child care worker beyond the doubt of...well....they're male?? They can't be as good at their job as a woman?
Obviously this is ridiculous but this is how many think. Having worked as an au pair I can attest that the number of families even willing to view males were a miniscule minority. Most want women, as the 'safe' option.
DH teaches in a middle school and has honestly, truly had people raise eyebrows at him and ask him if he 'doesn't worry that people will assume the worst' because he 'admits he's always wanted to work with kids'
Honestly. Truly. This has happened more than once. And, sadly, when he was deciding between a B.Ed in Primary education and the PGCE route, it was attitudes like that one: "errgh, you want to work with kids, you must be a peeedo'' that pushed him towards secondary teaching. He loves middle school but I think (overfondly, perhaps) that it's a crying shame primary teaching can't have him. He's so good with younger children.
I think men aren't encouraged towards work with children, both from overt attitudes like that, and from more covert 'chilling effect' stuff like it never being mentioned, never suggested as a possible career, no male role models doing it, etc etc. Also I imagine a lot of boys see wiping bums and poor pay and think: no, ta. Women are often encouraged towards 'caring' jobs/ careers that pay badly with the expectation that they'll love the work so much that they won't mind the pay is rubbish. Men tend to expect to be paid well for good work. Not saying this is a great thing, but I am saying I expect this is another reason they don't move towards teaching/childcare.
We use a male babysitter, lovely high-schooler we've known for 3 years now, super young man. If I were in the market for a nanny I'd certainly consider a male one. As it is, DS goes to daycare and absolutely all the adults he sees all day are women. He's obsessed with our youngish (20s) male neighbour, hero-worships him, and I realised that he doesn't actually see that many men, socially, apart from DH and the fathers of his friends, when we go on playdates.
It's a terrible shame.
blackcurrants, I don't doubt it at all. I had a male colleague who worked with children who said he would often get very dodgy looks when he turned up at Children's Centres. I have heard extremely sexist and unhelpful comments from female Early Years staff too - along the lines of 'men can't multitask' or 'he's a man so you'll have to tell him more than once'. Hardy har har. It's all 'banter' I suppose - tossers
I think low pay, low status, a bonkers cultural idea that women are 'naturally' more caring and underlying paedophile hysteria all add up to keep men away from doing child-centred jobs. It's a crying shame. And I think the only way that childcare will become more high status is if men start to join that workforce. So we're in a Catch-22
A year ago I was visiting different nurseries in my area trying to decide which one to send my PFB to when I returned to work.
One nusery I really liked and almost signed up for really turned me off when I spoke to the manager. I asked her about staff and how many male staff she had. She made a face, said she always throws applications from men straight in the bin and that she "is wary of men wanting to work with young kids."
My face looked like and I told her she was wrong in her thinking and discriminating.
I didn't send my child there, surprise surprise.
I am sure there are men who are great who work with kids. But given the high level of child sexual abuse in this country and that it is well documented that paedophiles seek out positions where they will have contact with children, then I understand mothers being worried about men working with young children.
eats I understand it too - in fact, I was sexually abused as a young child by a young man in caretaking role.
What I don't understand is, if the young man has been vetted like the young women are vetted, is subject to the same routine monitoring and careful observation - as the young women are - why they are immediately suspect.
Because men are much more likely to sexually abuse and because so many mothers will have been sexually abused as children. The sexual abuse of girl children by men in our society is very high. And sorry to hear that happened to you.
So all men who want to work as primary teachers should be treated with suspicion?
So all mothers should allow the feelings of men to matter more to them than the safety of their children?
Do you trust male primary teachers or do you view them all as potential abusers?
Or do you actually think some men might just value education and its purpose and think children have a right to education? They might also enjoy teaching young children and enabling them to make progress?
Kim - my very firsty sentence on this thread was "I am sure there are men who are great who work with kids."
Why then have you jumped straight to worrying about the feelings of men who work with children, rather than the children who may be at risk.
I wouldn't mind a male teacher or even nursery worker, but I would never employ a male nanny or childminder. It's not about discriminating but my child comes first, and what if? I would never forgive myself for putting him in a vulnerable position. Call it hysteria, I don't care, my duty is to protect my son.
I can only recount one male primary teacher who has been jailed for abuse. There were suspicions at the school but the system at school failed the children.
I also know that there are very few male teachers in KS1 and reception because they are worried about potential allegations and the way society views them.
FWIW, I think education and to be a teacher is one of the best things in the world. Yes - it's a caring profession but it's so much more than that. It's bloody hard work and demanding. Being responsible for 30 children and the progress they make is an incredible responsibiity and far more rewarding than other jobs.
Exactly Gold - you have a responsibility to put your child first in the way you see best.
There are men who are great at working with kids. It's extremely depressing when you want to work in a profession and people immediately view you with suspicion just because you are a man.
Schools are so careful with safeguarding nowadays. Nobody wants to leave themselves open to any allegation. Even touch a child nowadays and they'll accuse you of abuse.
Would you want a male primary teacher then?
Men will only start working in childcare when women start employing them! It is useless to complain about the attitude that childcare is women's work while not willing to have a male nanny or childminder. You can't have it both ways. When you do get one working with the Early Years they do bring something very different to the role in terms of attitudes and play.
Kim, are you a primary school teacher?
A strange question Kim - of course we need more male primary teachers - particularly in the infant classes.
Join the discussion
Please login first.