“My mother used to take care of family and friends’ kids. Naturally, she always had me helping out. I didn’t set out to work in early childhood though.
I earned my bachelor’s in history, and taught a year of high school. The next thing I knew I had an opportunity at a preschool to be a Spanish teacher. I fell in love. I went back for my bachelor’s in early childhood, and have been in this field ever since.
Now I’m the site leader at Focus Hope Head Start. I’m in charge of the day-to-day operations for 14 Early Head Start and Head Start classrooms, 213 children altogether.
As a male educator, we face a lot of stereotypes. I’ve never been one to shy away from it though. As a father myself, I know parents are always looking at what’s in the best interest of their child and their safety. We go through yearly background checks. Parents are always welcome to come sit in the classroom to see what we do. I want to make sure we give parents the assurances they need.
I work with kids of all ages, but the best time to make an impact is with young kids. It is not like working in a daycare. We know that children learn by repetition, so we have a research-based curriculum with daily lesson plans that are structured and consistent.
I love circle time. It’s one of the many ways that children learn through play. When I was a teacher we’d sing, “Head, shoulders, knees and toes…” I’d start singing it in Spanish and the kids would start following along. We were singing and playing, but they were actually learning another language and body identification.
It may seem like fun and games, but they’re actually understanding and using what they learn practically.”