I have a family at my center who is very uncomfortable with my preschool excellent male teacher. His postion is that this male teacher can’t be left alone with girls because he is a guy.
I already explained to him our rigorous background check process and talked to him about how good of a person and teacher he is. Still, Mom and Dad are not confortable.
I usually try to have a female around for them, however, If there are few children in the room, as an administrator, I can’t just keep a male teacher and a female teacher for just 2 or three children.
I am looking for articles or other literature that may help this family accept a male teacher.
Thank you so much for your e-mail.
You bring up a very important topic that we are often asked.
The most important perspective that you are holding is that you are beieng supportive of your teaching and are acknowledging that he is an excellent teacher.
It is also important to emphasize that according to federal and state laws, we do not discriminate based on the sex, religion, race/ethnicty of the person.
AND – that you always hire the most qualified person for the job (male OR female).
I always like to ask parents what are they uncomfortable about? It really gets to the core of the issue – which usually is that parents are afraid men are going to harm their child.
As a director, we must ALWAYS acknowledge a parent’s concerns, but we cannot base our policies or hiring because of a parent’s fears. When I’m giving talks I like to ask people what would happen if you substituted another identity for male. For example, African-American or Jewish. It becomes very obvious that it’s not really fair to pre-judge people.
One suggestion I have for you to offer parents is to have them watch the movie “Daddy Day Care.” I know that it’s not an “academic” video but it actually does a good job addressing the concerns in a humorous way.
And a book would be –
Essential Touch by Frances Carlson
The Importance of Men Teachers And Why There Are So Few
Let me know what you try – this is an ongoing process.
We are trying to get a ruling from the Justice Department so that we can post it to our website – but – it’s a slow process.
Finally – thank you for ALL the work that you do for our profession – I really appreciate what a difference you are making for the teachers, parents and most importantly – the children.