I come from a family of 5, that includes my parents and a younger brother and sister, each of us 4 to 5 years apart. Growing up, I helped my siblings gain skills and knowledge that I acquired from my own experiences. These included riding a bike, reading a book, training for a sport and aspects of becoming a leader. In addition to my family and personal experiences, I find I continue to make crucial decisions that lead me to where I stand today; a male, pursuing Early Childhood Education, following my choice of a journey that will make a profound difference in the lives of others.
Reflecting upon my life, I think that I have always been a leader especially to my siblings but also while going to school. To me, a leader is one who has a clear vision and a will to make something greater. I often think of my Grandpa, and his will to serve for our country while working to bring a smile on everyone’s face. A leader cares about the opinions of their peers and works to make goals become a reality. Lastly, a leader thrives through adversity. Most times their greatest achievements come through hardship and misfortune which helps shape them to become a successful leader.
As a third-year undergraduate student at UW-Stout enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program and serving as president of the Men in Education organization, I face many challenges and decisions that truly test my leadership skills and ability. For example, when leading a group, I have found that I cannot always rely on others to have the same desire and passion that I work to possess. Thus, I strive to ignite this passion in others by providing a clear outlook on our goals and optimism that we can together achieve something greater.
My philosophy is to be optimistic and embrace life by taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to me. Since becoming the president of an organization, I see some similarities and differences between the leadership role and becoming a future educator. First, the positions are both challenging and underappreciated. Secondly, each position requires a positive mindset to find success. However, while teaching allows students to communicate daily, an organization meets every so often resulting in inconsistent attendance of members. This causes frustration when trying to achieve goals. Most importantly, both positions require a role model who is positive and passionate and willing to put in the extra efforts and lead accordingly no matter the task at hand.
Someone once told me that we are all born role models. The question is whether we choose to be a positive or negative role model. I believe that the choice is based upon our outlook, beliefs, and demeanor. My experiences have taught me so much about myself including what it means to be unique in my thoughts and actions thus affirming the reason why I continue to pursue teaching.
My goal and hope is to become an outstanding male leader in the field of early childhood education.
[MenTeach: Dr. Jill has been working to increase and retain men in her education program. We asked her to write about her experiences as a woman facilitator. You can find the other articles here.]