Do Male Daycare/Preschool Providers Bother You?

Updated on November 23, 2011
S.S. asks from Los Angeles, CA
42 answers

I've always been a little wary of male daycare providers but ever since the whole Sandusky scandal, I'm hyper-paranoid about any man who chooses to work at a daycare. My son's preschool has 2 male teachers (1 old-timer, 1 new-comer) and while they're not my son's direct teachers, I'm kind of bothered by it. It doesn't help that my husband used to be a cop and he tells me that the pedophiles are not the creepy old men you watch out for but the pastor, the teacher, the coach, the nice guy who nobody suspects, which is exactly what makes them so dangerous. I mean, call me sexist, but I really wonder why a guy would choose to be a preschool teacher, you know? Just curious if I'm the only one...what are your thoughts are about male childcare providers?

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So What Happened?

OK, I knew that I was going to get blasted on this one but it's really been preoccupying me which is why I posted. Just to respond to something that seems to keep coming up, I'm not so worried about male teachers who are in elementary school (or up) because my son will be old enough to tell me if something is happening. I'm concerned about males in the daycare/preschool sector b/c my son can't yet articulate to me if something is happening that shouldn't be. Plus, with an age group that young, a lot of the job is nurturing and doing things like changing diapers, feeding them, etc. which generally women are more interested in. I know a lot of male teachers (heck, I work at a school) but they went into it because they want to TEACH which is easier to understand. Men wanting to change diapers, etc. for kids not their own (which is a large part of preschool/daycare work) is a little harder for me to grasp. Anyway, I'm really enjoying reading all the responses (and yes, I realize I'm coming off as very sexist and admittedly, I kinda am). Thanks for responding!

Final update: Some of you need to relax! I never said I was going to move my son out of his daycare nor did I say the male teachers were automatically pedophiles. I was simply stating that it made me a little uneasy and I was just curious if it made you uneasy as well. If not, fine but I'm also entitled to my own opinions. Sheesh. For those of you who responded with tact (whether you agreed with me or not), thanks for your thoughtful opinion.

Featured Answers

J.B.

answers from Houston on

Where there is smoke there is fire, the proof is in the pudding, whatever phrase you want to use it fits. I'm uncomfortable with it. More so when it's males supervising males. Boy Scout leaders have molested, Catholic priests have molested, Coaches have molested. Do women commit sex crimes on children, absolutely. But it's WAY more prevelant when the male is in charge.

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A.G.

answers from Houston on

I know its wrong and politically incorrect....but yes im not comfortable with male day care providers. I know too many women who were molested by men they trusted and not ONE person molested by a woman they trusted.

I can be the unpopular one , im not leaving my kids alone with most guys i actually know much less with men i barely know.

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L.O.

answers from Detroit on

I am with you.. I looked at home day cares for my daughter.. I asked who was in the home when the kdis were there.. if it was a lady and her retired husband.. the conversation ended quickly.. or if there were teenage boys in the home.. I would not leave my daughter there.. I am careful about men aroudn my kids..

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I.G.

answers from Seattle on

My school has them and I like it. I do find that it is beneficial for kids to have some male role models in school as well. Males bring other perspectives to an otherwise female dominated profession... men play differently with kids, they communicate differently. I think only ever having female teachers and caregivers shortchanges our kids.

As for your question why a man would possibly be interested in ECE, I am aghast at the sexism. Do you really believe that no man could show a genuine interest in teaching early childhood education. What about men that choose to be OB/GYN's? Pediatricians? Are they all perverts? How about women that want to be construction workers or plumbers, soldiers or mathematicians? Are they somehow weird? Maybe we should go back to having exclusively male/female jobs... I think NOT!

Bottom line you have to choose your caregiver or center carefully. Pick a place that is transparent and that you think will be a good fit for your child and your family.
Good luck.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

My kids only had one male preschool teacher, Mr. David, and we all loved him, especially my son! He worked at our school part time while he was working on his masters in education and is now a public school teacher (middle school, I think?) The kids responded to him because he was really playful, just like a dad or big brother.
As far as I know all day cares and preschools have very strict policies about adults being left alone with children. The cases you mention usually include an adult who builds a relationship with a child, and has access to that child one on one, for example men who take kids on overnights with full parental consent, or men who take advantage of kids during private lessons or activities.
My son is a freshman in college and has spent the past two summers working at a K-8 summer school program/day camp where they purposely hire an even number of male/female counselors. He has enjoyed it so much he is considering becoming a math or science teacher. I hate to think that anyone would consider my son a pedophile JUST based on the fact that he likes working with kids. It's just another job, like nursing, that has become more acceptable for young men to pursue.
And I've got news for you, if your son wants to play ANY sports in the future, his coaches will most certainly be male. Even the girls' teams are mostly coached by dads and other males. How will you feel about that?

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A.M.

answers from Kansas City on

I remembered posting on this very topic a while back. Turns out it was in March...and I'm just copy and pasting my answer from then.

Original Answer:
You are being way too judgemental...why is that a woman can work in construction, police or fire protection and a man can't be a teacher for kids under 12?

You are totally stereotyping this man for having the courage to live his dream. If you don't like switch daycare!

During my elementary years my 5th and 6th grade teachers were male. They were fantastic teachers...

Adding to new post: Far too many kids in this day in age do not have a postive male role model...take a look at from that point of view. Why does the negative have to outweight the positive that could be the reality of this situation?

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D.K.

answers from Pittsburgh on

My son's Montessori has an afternoon caregiver who is male. He is the son (early 20s) of one of the long term teachers. I think he is deciding about graduate school and taking some time.

So why on earth would a woman want to be a preschool teacher? Well, I'm guessing that men would have the same (varied) motivations. There are always two caregivers with the kids (even if there is only one kid at the end of the day). I think the school must be aware parents worry and that is why there are always two. And while I can see worrying, I think it sets a REALLY GOOD example for kids to see that men can be teachers and caregivers.

Our regular babysitter is male. I want my son to know that boys and men can be nurturing. (He already knows women can do anything in the working world).

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L.A.

answers from New York on

Bad people come in all shapes and sizes.

We've got a Manny for our DS. We are happy with our choice.

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L.D.

answers from Dallas on

This is not to be snarky, but because I am genuinely curious - Why dont you ask them why they chose to be preschool teachers?

I used to work as a teacher in an urban elementary school and male teachers were scarce, but desperately needed and highly valued. Boys needed positive male role models.

One of the fourth grade teachers was male and a good friend of mine. I asked him why he chose elementary school and he said that it was what he had always wanted to do. He had been so inspired by his own 4th grade teacher and wanted to have that impact with other children. He had avoided it because it wasnt a traditional male job, but after working years in another field, he decided to follow his heart. He is magnificent with students and truly beloved.

I know daycare is a little different, but satisfy your curiosity by asking them why they chose that field.

Also, if you are worried, I think its completely reasonable to ask the daycare director what policies and procedures they have in place to monitor employees and protect children.

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K.W.

answers from Seattle on

I love that my daughter's preschool has male teachers/care providers. Not creepy at all.

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⊱.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

When I was growing up, probably half of the teachers were male and half were female. Now it seems there are less males. I think male teachers are great, personally. Our first grader has a male student teacher working under her female mentor teacher. Also, her after-school care (also on the school site) also has a new and young male working there and he's super friendly and he's always out there playing dodgeball w/ all the kids and being active with them. The females? Not so much action going on there, I'm afraid. They all just "watch" and don't participate. What are you going to do when your child is in elementary school and there are male and female teachers working at the school??

Added: along the your lines of thinking ... why would a male become a pediatrician, as well? Could it be that they enjoy children and want to help them?

AND ... who the heck WANTS to change a diaper?? Sorry, that made me laugh! You do it because it has to be done, not because you enjoy it or want to.

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C.C.

answers from San Francisco on

So your position would be that any man who loves working with kids is probably a pedophile? Wow.

The best preschool my kids ever went to was one where the owner was a great big guy. Mr. Steve is and was beloved by all - kids, parents, the other teachers. He was like a great big kid himself - and his own kids went to the daycare as well. At first I thought, oh, that's unusual that a guy owns a daycare. But then I realized he was just one of those people who adores kids genuinely and felt a calling toward early childhood education. I wish we had encountered more teachers like that!

On the flip side, there are many truly awful preschool teachers who are women. The one that comes to mind was at a different school that my younger daughter attended. (We had relocated, and had to leave the wonderful preschool with Mr. Steve.) The awful (woman) teacher decided to discipline my 2 year old by leaving her outside alone and unattended for up to 30 minutes at a stretch - the busy street not 20 yards away. I found out (another teacher at the school called me at work and told me) - but it just goes to show you, you can't judge a book by its cover!

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K..

answers from Phoenix on

Men work at childcare centers & become teachers for the same reason they become fathers, or to coach one of their kids' soccer teams, and for the same reasons women do. The fatherless house with a kid that attends a daycare or school with male teachers probably welcomes a positive male role model.

The notion that ONLY men are sexual predators or abusive is old school & close minded. You could miss out on some really great influences on your child because of your attitude. If you don't want your kids at a daycare with male caretakers, then put your kid elsewhere. But, what are you going to do when your child goes to school & has a male Kindergarten teacher? Try not to live in a bubble so much.

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K.C.

answers from Orlando on

My husband is a teacher and I hate this question. Some men are creepy and some are good guys. I think it matters more about the individual in question. If you are at a center and get an uneasy feeling about a provider you change centers. :) My husband starts law school in the fall and will no longer be a teacher, this is a small part of the reason.

This sounds kind of snaky, but I don't mean it that way at all. Everyone is entitiled to their own opinions/concerns. Talk to your kids! Ask them everything, everyday. Then if (God forbid) something happens they will be able to tell you everything. (I'm assuming your kids are able to talk, I have no idea how old they are :)) But the lines of communication need to be open EARLY. That way they know they can always talk to you after every day of school, soccer practice, night at a friends house. The sad thing is you can't trust anybody in this day and age. :)

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

God no. In fact, I've always LOVED it. It's really, really nice to have the male influence.

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A.B.

answers from Naples on

My son had a male preschool teacher. I was freaked at first, but he turned out to be awesome. He never gave off any bad vibe....only good vibes. My intuition told me he was trustworthy.
In fact, frankly, this guy was my favorite caregiver that my son has ever had.
He was patient and calm. He kept his cool and I never saw him get irritated with the kids the way many of my son's female teachers did.
He was very methodical about making sure all the kids got their diaper changes, feedings, etc....and ALWAYS documented those things.
But what I appreciated the most was his respectful attitude toward parents. He did not have this ego thing going on that I have noticed with some of my son's female teachers where they seem to think they know better than the parents and/or that they are "queen" of the room and your child is their domain the instant you drop them off.
He was a younger guy....I guess he got into it through babysitting when he was younger, and then took a job at a center for the steady income while going to night school. He eventually left for a job in the field he got his degree in. Parents from the center still hire him regularly as a babysitter, though.
So in general, yes, i would be concerned....but look at it on an individual level. That particular individual, did not bother me AT ALL once I got to know him.
Peace!

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

I would like to think that male daycare providers and/or preschool teachers are the same as female....they have a passion for children and helping them learn and grow.
A pedophile can be anyone, even your neighbor who is married with children of their own. You really just never know.
It's unfair to stereotype, and I feel bad for the males who will be punished because of this.

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K.F.

answers from Salinas on

We had a guy preschool teacher when my youngest was small. We loved him, she still has fond memories of Manual. Please don't generalize, we need more nuturing male role models in early and primary education. It is exactly your mind set that probably makes some who would be really good at it shy away.
As for the Sandusky scandal that is an extreme case where he was "caught" years ago and allowed to continue to hurt kids over decades due to a lot of people looking the other way. It would not be nation wide news if not for the cover up within Penn State. I think that's the real story (and shame) not that there are creeps out there among us, we already know that. Try not to let a big news story like effect the way you feel about individuals.

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T.O.

answers from Minneapolis on

When I student taught for my early childhood teaching license, I taught under the supervision of a male teacher. He was a great teacher and had so much patience for the kids. There were parents who requested him as their child's teach instead of the female teacher, yet we also had parents who requested not to have him.

I find that certain males give me that creepy feeling when I am around them, others do not. For instance there is a man at our church that is loud, outgoing, and always tying to joke around with the kids. He has given me the creeps ever since we started attending that church (6 years) and it isn't only when he's talking to the kids. When he talks to me, I just want to run away. My husband works with a guy who also gives me the creeps.....not sure why, but I know I don't like being around him.

I think as a mom you have to go with your gut and common sense. Interesting topic.

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A.S.

answers from Iowa City on

I haven't read anything but your initial question and my answer to that is: They only bother me if they are idiots.

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E.M.

answers from Honolulu on

Well, statistically, 50% of all pedophiles are female across all age ranges of victims.

So no, not really.

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V.M.

answers from Cleveland on

It's taken me a while but i wanted to read through responses.

And for the record, I'd like to say that the tone of your post wasn't offensive to me but rather questioning and honest.

First, I have heard of a few cases of women having sex with teens, (which is NOT ok) I honestly don't think i have ever heard of a women molesting a child under the age of 8. I have heard of lots and lots and lots of cases or men molesting small children even infants.

Second, I think the question of why a male would chose daycare is a legitimate question. I totally agree with the posters who suggested getting to know him and asking . No where did i read that you were questioning elementary school TEACHERS. As you mentioned in your SWH, Daycare requires alot of nurturing behaviors, Elementary teacher, soccor coaches can also be nurturing but that isn't the main focus of their interactions. A daycare worker, dealing with an 18 month old Is totally focused on NURTURING,-- feeding, diapering, physically interacting in a loving manner. Also the field of daycare, is generally lowpaying and is often a transitional field for many many providers (male and female) on their way to another more desired job (more centerbased than home based, but i would bet the majority of males work at a center).

And third, Men are different than women, in general, they are less interested in caring for children that aren't part of their family. So if we all want to convince Sally S that she really doesn't need to worry about something that is different than what her experiences have been, putting her down probably isn't the best way to open her mind. Sharing your personal positive experiences might go alot farther.

As for me, I've worked in Childcare for many years. I am cautious of male daycare workers, and honestly haven't had an experience where i worked with anyone closely enough to lose that cautiousness. Maybe some day i will, and that would be great because it is true that there are too many kids these days that never see a kind nurturing man.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

There are just as many cases of woman abusing children as men. If this is really something you are concerned with than your only real option is to stay home with your child and homeschool.

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter had a male preschool sub for 2 months. she really enjoyed him. he was very kind patient and really handled the class well. but i do see what you mean. i think its more odd to see a male in the daycare scene then in preschool scene.

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S.L.

answers from Columbia on

Hello,
I feel the same way until we discussed the matter in class one night. I am studying early childhood education so I can open a day care center one day :)
It is actually good for children to have male child educators, even if they aren't their direct teachers. Society has become so set in the ways that only women should be teachers/care givers when actually both men and women should be. A child with a male educator will develop better social skills for now and in the future. The child will feel more comfortable around males and maybe be less fearful of them. Just a few things we discussed.
But being a mother, I completely understand. I would check with the director of the program and be sure both males and all other educators have had a background check and aren't on the pedifile list (just to put you at ease a little bit). Also, I don't know how old your child is, but talk to your son about "areas" that no one is to touch except for him and other things that you are worried about and if someone ever does do anything inappropriate he shouldn't be scared to tell you or another teacher.
Men who are not pervs choose to be care givers/educators for the same reason women do, simply that they enjoy and love being around children and teaching them. It is normal. :)

Hope this helps :)

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C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

sally i know exactly what you're saying.

come to think of it, do you ever hear of female pedophiles?? i haven't read your other responses but i am interested to see if anyone who is up in arms about the sexism part of this has. bet not...but you never know.

it's not being sexist...it's thinking about the world we live in. it's our job to think about "what could happen"...or at least it seems to be in our DNA. i sometimes have flashes of horrible accidents happening, it's called paranoia, and a big part of being a mom. you always worry about "what if". those who deny that are either disconnected from their kids or reality. i don't know how any nurturing maternal woman could NOT worry about things that "might happen."

and as far as i have read, some are wondering about preschool vs elementary or hs. there's a big difference. when my preschooler falls and scrapes his knee, his teacher (female) gives him a hug. yes, the younger kids get their diapers changed, etc. it's much more hands on, and the caregivers are allowed to be much more affectionate and nurturing. it's entirely different from "regular" school. i'm not sure why anyone wouldn't realize that? just the very maternal and nurturing nature of the position is different, which makes it more unusual for a male to be interested in the profession. not wrong, not necessariliy creepy, just different. i don't think i'd pull my child from it (i have known some great, fun, cool guys that would have made great preschool teachers) but it would cause me to stop a second....and like someone said, i would trust that the school knew what they were doing. and i'd probably be right. but i WOULD stop and think a second.

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M.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I think you are a little paranoid due to all the media hype. My kids are in a pre-school and have a male teacher, mid twenties, of whom has taught both my kids. Sweet, gentle and we trust him. More than anything we trust the pre-school. Why does it matter why a guy chose the profession he did. No offense but questioning why a male chooses a certain profession can easily bounce back as to why women choose certain professions. If you researched your pre-school well before your child attended then I would imagine they are in a safe environment. No, none of us will truly know what "might" happen but that goes with any life experience or situation.

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J.C.

answers from New York on

I agree with you. I was very uncomfortable with it.

But I think that pedophiles are everywhere. Especially right next door and often at home. It can be a sick world.

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A.R.

answers from Houston on

No, it doesn't bother me. It's not my place to question why someone pursues a particular career path. Presumably it is because they love children. Besides because of sexist attitudes like the one you express male teachers, particularly of small children face, face even more scrutiny than their female counterparts. With that increased scrutiny there is even less reason to worry.

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K.S.

answers from New York on

Why should a man be any more creepy than a woman? I mean, it always depends on the individual... I know some GREAT guys, that I've watched grow up, who are now graduating from college - intending to go into Early Childhood and Elementary Education. They were always the "fun, crazy" kids in their group, and will make excellent teachers.

Each individual has to be taken on their own merit. You don't like them? Check them out. But don't give someone an instant pass just because they're female....

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A.M.

answers from New York on

I dont really feel one way or the other, but i'm just curious what the difference between a male daycare provider and a male teacher- elementary, middle or high school really, Because I know there are many of those and I havent ever seen anyone questioning them.

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P.K.

answers from New York on

I would assume they chose to be a preschooler because just like women,
they enjoy teaching little children. Are there any female teachers there?
Keep in mind that a preschool is very small and little chance for anything
to happen. Now because of Penn State, all male school teachers will be
penalized by parents to some degree.

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C.J.

answers from Dallas on

Wow so many responses hard to read them all, but I felt the exact same way when my oldest son (in the pre-k program) had a male teacher come in when his regular teacher went on maternity leave. Let me tell you he gave off a vibe, but I sat, talked to him and really liked his background and the level of experience and even the reason why he was working at a child care center in the pre-k (K) classroom.

I think what you posted is good for us to always keep our eyes open because it is always the one you least expect!

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A.G.

answers from Boston on

ok i didnt read the other responces, but reading your what happened section people must not agree with you.... that being said i looked into a prescool for my daughter last year and they had 3 men working directly with the kids. i was not comfortable at all... when the school called post viewing of the school i told them exactly why i wouldnt chose them, the men working there and i did not send her there.

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C.F.

answers from Portland on

No... and I don't think that its fair to think that way.
Some men are nurturers and genuinely love kids.
Just cause there are monsters like at Penn State, doesn't mean all male teachers/advisers/daycare workers are.

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M..

answers from Albany on

I know it is sexist too, but I don't think that I could ever leave my children with a male childcare provider. Just seems weird to me and I DONT know why!! Their grandpas and father are it for me! Maybe a family friend we have, but that would be a stretch for emergency only.

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

It might make me pause, but I assume that the daycare has run background checks with fingerprints with the state, which would alert them to any and all convictions and felonies. You might also chat with other parents, although not directly expressing that there is a major concern because you do not want to create hysteria. They might be the best personnel working with the kids. Who know's? We simply assume that females are best at this job. I would also chat with the male workers to find out more about them and how they chose the job. If you are not comfortable, you should move your child, but understand that pedophiles rarely look like pedophiles. It's so hard trusting others to care for your child.

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M.T.

answers from New York on

No. I don't automatically believe that all men are pedophiles or other deviants. Women also victimize children sexually. Most of the time, the pedophile is someone who lives with the child or is a family member. I am not suspicious of male teachers of young children, of male nurses, male pediatricians, etc. And yes, I would call you sexist. Why would a male want to teach young children? Why would a woman want to be a welder? These supposedly gender-defined roles don't belong in our society in this day and age. Fathers take care of and nurture children just like mothers do, so it's not only a woman thing. I don't find a man changing diapers of kids who are not his any different than a woman doing that, it's still not your child and it's a stranger who is doing it. Women are not automatically made for diaper changing. Men don't automatically or normally look at baby private parts, get turned on or touch inappropriately.
Schools cannot discriminate against qualified males applying for a job just as workplaces cannot discriminate against qualified women applying for jobs that may have at one time been considered traditionally male careers. Wouldn't you be horrified if you were a surgeon and a patient requested a male doctor because they considered males more suited to the job?

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L.N.

answers from New York on

I found your post to be good :) not offensive or anything like that.

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A.H.

answers from Omaha on

My son went to an MDO program from the age of 18 months to 3 years old. He loved it. He has always been very social and acclimates to his surroundings easily. Hardly any separation anxiety at all. When he went to the 3 year old room, there was a male lead teacher that was very popular with all of the kids. He was very charismatic, boisterous and made the kids laugh all the time with his funny ways. He reminds me of Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street. Suddenly, my son did not want to go to class anymore. It was odd for him to do such a 180 with his eagerness to attend school. I do believe it had more to do with this teacher being loud and boisterous more than anything. My son is mostly around women throughout the day and his dad is pretty quiet-mannered. He will often ask to turn down the tv or radio, so I think this teacher's booming voice scared him. However, because he was not completely able to articulate why he was suddenly clinging to me at drop-off time, I chose to pull him from the class because you just can't be too sure these days which is unfortunate. He did do a makeup session in a different class one day and was back to his happy, eager self when he saw it was a familiar (female) teacher from the 2 year old room. In general, I don't have a problem with male teachers. I am an elementary teacher and have worked alongside several male teachers that have so much positive impact on kids. They truly are a blessing to the profession. It is sad that a few bad ones puts everyone on edge.
A.

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R.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

I've never had a problem with male daycare providers/teachers. Perhaps your husband has also told you that some of those not creepy pedophiles are women, and capable of some really horrible stuff.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

woops, just lost my answer...well, if it does turn up I will just continue. Anyway, I was saying i worked at daycare some years back and there was a male teacher, the little boys loved him, women loved him, he had a girlfriend and was trying to be an actor. He loved the kids, too. And he was a great male role model, needed the work for getting time off for auditions and insurance.l sincerely hope he made it but continues to work with children. My sons thought he was cool and I also raised my sons to love children so if either one of them wanted to be in daycare it wouldn't surprise me. I guess I don't have that suspicion at all. But maybe would if I had daughters.

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