Continuing our two-part series in celebrating the male educators in the early childhood industry in Australia, this week we spoke to Nick Wood from our Annandale centre, for his unique views and insights into the role.
- How long have you been a preschool teacher?
I began working in the childcare industry 14 years ago. The centre where I now work became MindChamps Early Learning @ Annandale at the beginning of this year, but I have worked here for nine years now.
- Do you consider your job unusual?
Having worked in this job for so many years, it’s hard to imagine it as something unusual. It’s just normal to me, I guess. I have had roles in various industries throughout my youth (e.g. sales, electrical trade retail) and I can say that this one is easily the most fun and rewarding.
- What was your friends’ and family’s reaction when you told them about your plans to be a preschool teacher?
I have had nothing but positive reactions from my friends and family. They have all been so supportive of my career choice. In fact, when I meet new people, especially those with children, they are always excited to hear that I’m a childcare educator and are always asking me for advice and opinions. The sentence I hear more than any other would be, “I couldn’t do what you do.”
- What are some struggles that you had to go through to fulfill your role?
I have been very blessed in that I haven’t come across too many hardships in my career. In this industry, there is a lot of staff turnover at most centres and mine has been no different, so having to say goodbye to so many good educators whom I loved working with has been quite hard.
- What are some things that you have learnt from your interactions with the children?
I have learned to have a lot of patience. There’s no way anyone could be an educator of any kind without being an incredibly patient person. I have also learned that I really shouldn’t sit down at work unless I want to have 10 children jump on top of me!
- Why do you think men shy away from this role? In your opinion, what would encourage more men to consider this profession?
I really think it boils down to two reasons. First is that it just doesn’t occur to most men that they could be childcare educators because it is still seen as “women’s work” to care for children. I believe this is changing slowly, but it does lead to the second reason in that men feel that they need to be the breadwinners of the family, and childcare unfortunately limits their ability to earn enough money for them to do so. It’s a real shame because people are crying out for there to be more male educators in childcare, judging by the reactions from the families at my centre.