Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Australian Child-Care Worker John Thomson by Mike Prochaska
John Thomson is a child-care worker at Regand Park Early Childhood Education Centre in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. The father of three shared his thoughts on his career path, male teachers and providing a positive role model for kids.
Q. How did you get into this field?
“Was asked if I would be interested in coming in to have a trial in a room by one of my cousins who is actually also a male. I came from a background of machinery hire and landscaping, so it was a very different field to get into. I have three children myself (two at that time), so I guess I had that advantage. We had just moved from Victoria up to country NSW, so I felt like a change would be fitting and went for it.”
Q. What do you see as the advantages of having male teachers?
“In my time spent in the industry I can definitely say that there is a security the children feel when I am there. I seem to be the person they go to if they are upset. I think it is important to have a balance of ideas and activities for the children to participate in, I believe this occurs when there is both male and female educators present.”
Q. Anything else you want to tell us about working with young children?
“My goal every day is simply to provide a positive male role model for the children to look up to and hopefully one day they will look back and remember me and what I attempted to teach them. We have a chance to really make a difference and have a positive effect on an entire generation. I am fortunate enough to have a director who is wholeheartedly behind all her staff and always has a positive infectious nature, this definitely helps in a tough industry that also happens to be one of the most rewarding industries.”
Q. What your favorite memory working with kids?
“At the end of last year, one of the parents of one of my senior preschool children (aged 4 to 5) approached me and told me that her children had been playing ‘schools’ at home in anticipation of starting school this year. Her boy had been running around saying that, ‘he was John because he was the best.’ This absolutely made my year and I was almost crying when I told my wife that night.”
Q. Anything else you want to share?
“Positivity! Children are so quick to see and feel our energy that we put out. When we are down they know it, in the same way they know when we are happy. I really do believe that in order for them to become confident and involved learners they need to be surrounded in a positive energy so they can relax and thus learn. Play, play, play!”