Sims Elementary teacher Eric Wee says he’s enjoyed teaching since his first day on the job.
Only about one in 10 elementary school teachers in the Austin Independent School District is male.
Eric Wee is one of those few.
“It’s good to have a male role model in a young person’s life,” he said.
That’s exactly what friends of Wee say he is. He’s a second grade teacher at Sims Elementary.
“The kids I have are really good, they’re diamonds really,” he said.
But, it didn’t start out that way for Wee.
He didn’t plan to be a teacher, but after studying abroad in Spain and teaching the English language at the college level he decided to give it a try.
“I was a little scared to teach in the U.S. because I was worried the kids would be harsher than the students were in Europe, but it didn’t turn out that way, so I’ve enjoyed it from the very first day,” Wee said.
The teacher said he can only guess why there aren’t many male teachers.
“Maybe because growing up in this country from the get-go we don’t see many men as teachers … maybe it’s a social standard.”
Wee said his teaching techniques are a little more lenient than other teachers.
He wants his students to be comfortable, even if that means taking off their shoes while working on an assignment.
“Elementary school, I prefer, because it comes naturally to be playful with the students and teach them in a playful manner,” Wee said. “I don’t think I could be playful in middle school and high school and have kids show the same respect.”
It doesn’t bother him that there is not a higher percentage of male teachers.
“I imagine anyone that’s a hard worker would be what I would want, if it’s a male or a female,” Wee said.
He said there is one down side to being a male teacher and not a known cook.
“Being single, a lot of the parents bring a lot of food … maybe the negative is in three years I’ll be 300 pounds,” Wee said.
Wee said it can make you more popular if you’re a male teacher at an elementary school.
He said sometimes he’ll hear students on the playground saying they want Mr. Wee or Mr. Linch when they get to second grade.
Unfortunately, the school doesn’t allow parents or students to choose their teachers.