Looking up to a male teacher

by Bart Tittle – Pearson Teacher Fellowship – Jumpstart Corps in Kansas – United States

Bart Tittle served 300 hours as a Jumpstart Corps member while he was a student at the University of Missouri Kanses City. After graduating in 2005, Bart joined the Pearson Teacher Fellowship.

Like many of my friends, growing up I wanted to play professional baseball, basketball, and football. My heroes were people doing unbelievable things on the athletic field. My role models – the men I aspired to be were not at the head of my classroom. I had to wait until I was 13 to find a single male teacher to look up to. This realization started to shape my desire to teach. In my third year in college, I found what would helpme achieve this goal. Although I’d already been focusing ona career in teaching,it was through a list of work-study jobs that I found Jumpstart. Looking at this list, I caught myself saying: “Wait, this would be perfect for my major and my wallet. I could make some money and gain some teaching experience at the same time.” Little did I know, Jumpstart would solidify my life path for the next four years.

After a successful year as a Corps member, I had two things on my mind: graduate and secure a spot in the Pearson Teacher Fellowship. I knew that the Fellowship would do an amazing job of helping me become that role model I had so needed as a young child. With the Fellowship, I would get to do what I wanted – teach pre-k at a Head Start site – and it would leme remain connected to Jumpstart. So when I got the message that I was being invited to become a Pearson Teacher Fellow, I was instantly filled with an enormous amount of joy. In the summer of 2005 I began training as a proud member of this Fellowship. I have to say, it’s been all I had hoped – the challenges, the joys that come withteaching three and four year olds, the laughter you can’t contain

when a child acts silly. But the part of the Fellowship that’sbeen both surprising and encouraging to me personally is the opportunity to have male peers.Sadly,men make up less than 10% of the preschool teaching field.So when I joined as a Fellow in 2005, I was so happy to have 3 other male peers to share in my experiences and ideas. I’m glad the Fellowship is actively working to recruit more males into the program and into the early childhood field. Why do I care so much about this issue? Partly because not everyone can be a sports hero, so we need tomake sure young boys know there are others to look up to – to realize teaching isn’t just a woman thing.

One of my students, Oscar, told me that I needed to stop acting like a girl.He told me this as I was holding a baby. That’s what I want to change… I don’t want holding a baby to be a boy or girl thing. I want it to be what it should be to everyone magical.

So my job isn’t glamorous – nothing like that of your favorite baseball, basketball,or football player.My fellow teachers don’t get nearly the attention or credit they deserve, andthere’s a chance we’ll get peed on every day we walk into the classroom. But it is a job where I can legitimately say I have an opportunity to change the world, or at the very east shape the minds of 19 children each year. As cliché asthat may sound, it is absolutely true. I hope my work and that of other Pearson Teacher Fellows will be enough to change the perception of what it means to teach young children.But most of all, I hope I can make this work cool enough so that more men will join and be role models forthe young children that need them.