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.
There are trade-offs with this job, especially in terms of pay and benefits. The stereotype is that man is supposed to be the dominant breadwinner. My wife has an MBA, and she can make more than me. In our household, it doesn’t affect us though because she knows that I help provide for our family and she knows this is where my heart is.
I played sports. I studied engineering. A lot of my friends say why are you working with children? There’s nothing else I would rather do. There are lots of other things I could do, and that I have the skills sets to do, but I love what I do.
I can honestly – enthusiastically – say that I love my job.