The video was a bit of a panacea for this issue in New Zealand – and yes, it was controversial at the time and did rattle some cages – as an aside the DVD (mentioned in the video) finally came out in February of this year – two years later…and it was about men in ECE.
Sarah Farquhar has been the lead researcher of this issue in New Zealand many years and it was her contacts that got this programme screened on prime time viewing and was received very favourably by the public here. There are some deep dark hollows within the minstry of education and major teacher groups who probabaly are not as supportive for various reasons – but on the whole the issue of lack of males involved in all sectors of education within NZ is a growing concern and our documentary has been able to highlight the area of lowest participation rate.
Since that video was screened we have held two national Huis (meetings) focussing on this issue plus have had the lack of males in teaching in ECE raised at many sector meetings within NZ. At the first men in ECE Summit held in March 2007 male teachers along with representatives from Government departments, universities and training providers met to discuss how we could begin to challenge this deplorable situation. The following day a group which included minister of education officials and whole sector representatives met to discuss intitiatives on how to increase the numbers of males in ece – something that has been unprecedented in our educational history.
From the first meeting we established a national email tree and then set about beginning the change process. Our teaching material now has male stories to share with others and slowly recruiters and major players within ECE are now including male images amongst its workforce promotional material. in February this year we ran our second Summit and invited Kenny Spence to talk about Meninchildcare.com and his airfare was funded by the government. (MenTeach: Ron Blatz went to New Zealand recently to be a keynote.)
It has been interesting in the change of emphasis since that video – it has been very clear by the men involved in ECE that we want to promote the good story – about what a most wonderful career this can be for males and how children and families can be enriched by a workforce that has other male and female teachers sharing their perspectives and experiences to build confident and competent learners.
So it was kind of weird watching that on YouTube – it made me realise that how far we have moved in two years and kind of left me feeling proud of the efforts made so far. At our meeting this year we have set an ambitious target of 10% of the workforce in ECE being male in 10 years – we believe it will be a journey but we believe it is possible as there are so many men out there who have not been fortunate enough to learn what a wonderful, rewarding and fun job working with young children is…Let’s hope…
I wanted to share our first steps to bring you up to date….our website is www.ecmenz.org
President EC- Menz Incorporated