I am embarked on a new, second (really first) career as a teacher of children in grades K – 3 in suburban Chicago (northern), after 25 years in business. I have a new MAT and a new Early Childhood certificate (chosen instead of Illinois’ K – 8 certificate because I want to teach only the youngest children) and looking for a new teaching position. I am 50 and also have an MSJ from Northwestern U. and a BA from Carleton.

I have in the last two months written personal letters to all 252 elementary schools in northern Illinois and filled out the 80 or so applications from the districts encompassing those schools.

As a man, and a highly educated person with no personal ambition but only a desire to serve children as their teacher, I have for the two years it took me to obtain the MAT and in the three months since then deeply considered my MANY visits to a great number of elementary schools typical in culture of any elementary school with rare exception.

I have no less desire to be hired immediately to teach than I had two years ago, but the people (dozens and dozens I have met) who are in these teaching positions in K – 3 are foreign to me and my life experiences in many ways which to this moment make me very uncomfortable about what it will feel like (if I’m ever hired) to be lodged in a school culture that is undiversified, limited and somewhat shallow, not to mention paranoid and condescending toward males (these attributes I have personally witnessed).

I wll have to come up with some questions. That’s the background. I have read all the theoretical stuff about men needed in teaching as role models, for the male approach to thinking and acting as a balance in the school, as a pleasing support in parents’ eyes instead of just a bunch of young white girls as teachers (that’s northern Illlinois) but I think the thinking inside the schools’ teacher cultures is really insular, paranoid and isolating.

So I want to contribute as a teacher soooo keenly but feel depressed thinking about the limited culture I’ll be entering.

I’m totally conflicted.

Thoughts, perspective, etc. would be welcomed.