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I like Bryan’s answer to your question Lance. It really describes how I understand MenTeach today. Bryan was being modest in that he did not mention that he has been supporting men in education for over 25 years now. His first efforts were with men in early childhood programs in Minnesota, but the scope of his efforts have greatly expanded since then. If I have it correctly, he was a Bush Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health for a few years, studying this very topic.
Although I can really understand and commiserate with your struggles with finding a teaching position, Oregon will be better with you coming here. I have recently taken a position with the Oregon Department of Education in Salem and have access to some of the hiring needs. What area of the state are you planning to move to?
One bright spot in your plan is that as you are hoping to gain a full time position, school districts in Oregon are needing lots of new teachers to replace the hordes of baby boomers who are retiring each year. The shortage is especially acute in districts outside of Willamette Valley. Oregon has a plan where teachers can retire and collect state retirement and come back to teach full time in those remote areas of the state.
I hope your plan works out and good luck.
Bruce SheppardBruce SheppardMember
I have recently begun a new position on the state level but I was a ECE and ECSE teacher for 27 years. As much as there is caution and fear about superhero play, for some reason it seldom became an issue in my work. Yes, at times some boys (and occasionally some girls) would want to act out their favorite superhero in play. I always insisted that the superhero play followed our standard safety guidelines. If I felt a child perseverated too much on superhero play I would use some simple techniques such as integrating the play in some other activity, setting a specific time and/or time limit on the play, or re-direct the child’s interest towards a topic that was more relevant to the curriculum.
I guess I am saying that when I offered a developmentally appropriate and stimulating environment, the issue of a child spending too much time on superhero play became irrelevant.
One other issue to examine here would be to look at what social/emotional beneift the child is getting from this kind of play. Issues of low self-esteem, abusive or chaotic home environments, emotional disorder, and so forth can have an effect on this play. Children who have issues with control and power can find a level of satisfaction with taking on the persona of an all-powerful character. It is something to think about when deciding how much or how little superhero play you want to encourage.
Bruce S. Sheppard, M.T.S
Oregon Department of Education