Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Navy Daycare Teacher Rob Nessly by Mike Prochaska

Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Navy Daycare Teacher Rob Nessly

Rob Nessly works at a daycare for the Navy and lives in the small town of Keyport, Wash. He's been in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) field for over 15 years. Here are his thoughts on men working with small children.

Q. How did you get in the Early Childhood Education field?

“I first got in to early childcare when I was between jobs around 2002. I started volunteering for Sunday School at the local church I was attending, and people told me I was good with kids and It was honestly something I enjoyed doing. So, I decided to start working at a daycare. I then got my A.A degree in ECE. I have been working with 1- and 2-year-olds for about 15 years.”

Q. What’s your favorite memories working with kids?

“One of my favorite memories is when the hugs and greetings when you walk into the room first thing in the morning. I don't think you get that in any other field or occupation.”

Q. What do you think of rough housing or “big body play” as some people call it?

“We don't allow ‘rough housing,’ but in our classroom we do give or toddlers more freedom and we do more sports and physical activities, such as basketball, soccer and sometimes hockey.”

Q. What would you tell people thinking about going into this field?

“The thing I would say is that if you decide to become a teacher, put the children first and have everything else is just background noise … A blog that I would recommend is Teacher Tom.”

Q. Did you hear about the man who got fired for being male?

“I have heard about the guy who was fired for being a male. I have been discriminated for being a guy in this field but I have been lucky to have a director support me through those times. I was also denied a job because the toddler teacher at the time was uncomfortable working with a male. That [was] around 2012. I would love to start advocating for more men in this field because the children need more diversity and I think the whole field would benefit from more men.”

Q. What’s it like working at a Navy school?

“It's nice. The salary and benefits are really good, But, staff turnover is bad due to deployments. Our school has about 120 staff and only two males.”

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