Ever since I decided to train as an early childhood teacher I’ve been told a thousand unpleasant things.
My teachers welcomed me during my study and guided me along this path. In the workplace my female colleagues also welcomed me with open arms.
But society has not made things easy. Some people see me as a weirdo. They have looked down on me in so many ways.
When I did my internship, I had to put on a smock of checked cloth. When I was out and about, walking down the streets, going to the kindergarten, people would look at me and say, "What's this madman doing wearing a smock, being a man?”
It is very unusual in our society to see a man in this kind of smock, which we wear in the classroom. It’s considered a women’s thing.
I’ve had to put up with intimidating stares and being told all sorts of things like, "That's for women, that's for sissies," that all early childhood teachers do is cut paper, that this is what we're there for. At first this hurt and shocked me. It’s a lot for a human being to take. But today I say “Thank you” to these comments.
I chose this career out of interest. Years ago, I went with my little sister to kindergarten, and I saw a man teaching in the classroom. It seemed very crazy to me, and I became curious about this profession from then on.
I talked to my family, and they said there were also men pursuing this type of career, and that I should be free to pursue whatever I wanted. They encouraged me to keep moving forward in what I chose.
When I started studying I was the only man on the course. It was a bit strange for them to have a man in their study group. Teachers had a hard time remembering to say “girls and boy” instead of only “girls” when addressing the class.
I discovered that in Buenos Aires there are only seven male early childhood teachers working in the public education system. Many men study for this career but do not practice it. Instead, they keep studying to get into other positions.
I think those colleagues who dare do it are then afraid to work. They don’t know how society and their family will react, how the school directors will react. It really depends on the neighbourhoods or the cities they live in. It is a fear that one always has.
I have met many men who don't want to choose or continue this profession because they are afraid of this social gaze.
I receive support from my parents, friends and colleagues but it is not always easy to do my work because of society’s prejudices and the poor salary.
I teach and care for children who are between two and three years old. I love caring for them.
When people think of childhood care they often think of material care in nurseries. But in fact, what we do is more than helping the child with hygiene, food and sleep. We also educate them through different classes and activities and by making sure a child’s education can be continued between kindergarten and home.
As an educator I am aware that I leave marks on the children I care for, and these marks will influence them in the future. I enjoy being with children. As a teacher I teach them and they also teach me at the same time.
You give them the best and the most that you can so that the child continues to learn and continues to be educated in primary and secondary school and later on in whatever they choose to follow.
I want to grow professionally as a teacher and work in different locations.
I think that to change the view of society, we need to encourage more men to work in this field and improve working conditions. I no longer believe that it is a feminized career, even if there is a large percentage of female teachers.
We need to recognize early childhood male teachers, encourage them, respect them, and also pay all teachers better salaries so that they won’t struggle financially. We care about children but we also want to make sure we earn enough money for the basics.
Our salary is always a struggle. We put a lot of effort into our work, we often use money out of our own pockets to prepare materials, to bring watercolour paint sets or other things that we don't have, which we ask for but sometimes we don't get.
I continue to choose this beautiful profession because of the different groups of children that cross my path. Seeing them laugh, learning from them, and being able to teach them different topics is the most satisfying thing there is. Receiving their hugs every day, saying hello to them, or talking about something we discussed or worked on weeks or days before, all that means that I am doing a good job.