[MenTeach: There were some postings to one of the elists about men and education. Two long time educators discuss a topic of interest.]
What about the men who succeed in what tend to be female-dominated careers, including nursing, travel, marketing, and childcare? Is there such a thing as a reverse glass ceiling for men?
From my personal observations, men often leave the field for better money elsewhere. Those that don’t often get promoted or assigned to primarily administrative positions. Is that a glass ceiling? I don’t know. I do know that men are much better represented on NAEYC’s Board than in the profession at large.
This is an interesting topic for me right now. I have been in the ECE field for 27 years and am beginning to contemplate the possible final stretch of my full time career. I have always been appreciated as a valuable and competent teacher in ECE and ECSE settings, but when it comes to leadership positions within those good organizations the supervisors I have worked for have never considered me for advancement. No one has even suggested that I have student teachers or mentor new teachers, even when much less experienced and less competent female colleagues have been tapped for such assignments.
I think this has happened for two reasons, both of which were because I am a male teacher. I think I have not been asked to move up in to administration because my supervisors have not wanted to lose me as one of their few male teachers in the classroom. In the last few months I have been offered, and had to turn down, two promotions into leadership from organizations outside of the ESD I work for. Those organizations were amazed that I had not been asked to move in to leadership positions before.
The reason I have not been asked to supervise student teachers or mentor new teachers is because those students and teachers are female and my female supervisors have told me that they thought other people would be better matches for such a role. The claim has been that they were looking at personality and my current work load, but I feel that I have been overlooked because the idea of a middle-aged man mentoring a young woman just does not fit into their way of thinking.
I may be wrong, but it is what feels right to me. Has anyone experienced similar circumstances?