My experience as a male preschool teacher-in-training
By Lehlohonolo Machaba
I enjoy working with kids. Yep! Your guess is right -it is a demanding job! But I believe any demanding job can be done with ease, as long as a passion for that job exists. I do not have vast experience working as a preschool teacher, only about a year now, however, each day feels more like I have been doing it for ages. Now that, that is an amazing feeling for a young male teacher.
I remember my first day at Ububele Preschool. It was both exciting and nerve-racking all at once. I knew that there were not a lot of male preschool teachers out there, therefore, I was anxious about how the kids and their parents would react towards having a male preschool teacher. Would it make them uncomfortable? Would they still have confidence in their kids’ safety at the school? Would the kids feel comfortable with a male figure around them? All these were questions that dominated my thoughts.
I believe that what was behind my anxiety was some sad facts about our country, such as the high rate of gender-based violence, and the perception that male figures are not good parents compared to our female counterparts, and therefore cannot make good teachers.
I knew the perceptions and prejudices could not be true. If it were, that would mean my passion for working with kids was false.
Now that I can confidently argue against!
My passion is real.
I am living it on a daily basis.
And man it is amazing!
Well, it all turned out far better than I could have ever imagined. The kids loved me, the parents welcomed me and showed me trust with their kids. The few good remarks I received from parents about their opinions of me working as a male teacher and how their kids rave about me at home, were a great confidence booster.
I came into this profession with a strong goal of shifting mindsets of individuals.
Male figures are as important in children’s lives as females. We can love, teach and nurture young minds with the same amount of effort and dedication as females.
‘Daddy Day Care’, my favourite movie thus far tells that in a beautiful manner, and I am inspired every time I watch it.
I do hope other male figures out there are as inspired and motivated to overcome the prejudices and stereotypes, follow their passions and be more involved in the lives of children in all good ways possible.
It does not end here. I have ambitions of studying towards an Educational Psychology Qualification and continue my role in the lives of young minds.
I had it hard as a kid. I yearned, searched, but struggled to find genuine connections and understanding. I know how that feels and I am not letting any of my learners experience that while I am around.
Lehlohonolo Machaba is about to complete his training as an ECD facilitator and works at the Ububele preschool in Kew, Johannesburg.
The preschool is a holistic learning environment, focusing on the educational, psycho-social and physical development of the child. Children who need it, have access to therapy and assessments, and parents have access to parenting support through the Ububele Therapy & Assessment Clinic.
If you’d like the register your child for the preschool you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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