by Brian Jamieson - Canada

Vince Anania is one of a kind.


The effervescent veteran teacher at St. Charles School in Thorold is the only male Junior Kindergarten teacher in the entire Niagara Catholic DSB.

Anania, 44, doesn’t really understand the novelty. Ask him and he’ll tell you he’s in the greatest career imaginable. He’s literally buoyant with the challenge and opportunity of shaping young minds and inspiring in them a lifelong love of learning.

“These kids are our future, especially at the JK level,” he says. “This is the first time they are coming into a learning institution. They don’t know anything about a classroom environment and you’re giving them the very first year of their educational career, a pathway, a love of school, the love of learning. They trust you. They believe everything you say, everything you do. You’re like a god to these kids.”

It’s a challenge, he admits. They miss their parents. They have to learn to line up, raise their hands. They have to learn the structures, the routines.

“We’re doing a big push on literacy and numeracy right down to the JK level, and all the information I’m giving them is so critical. It’s not a job; it’s a career.”

Increasingly, however, it’s not a career men are choosing.