Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With First Grade Teacher Brycial Williams by Mike Prochaska
Brycial Williams is a member of the 30Seconds tribe and teacher from Wynne, Ark. He’s wanted to be a teacher since he was a little boy because he loves to encourage others to reach their potential goals. It has been a passion of his and he believes it’s a gift from God. He is currently working at Wynne Primary School teaching first grade.
Q. What do men bring to the classroom?
"Men in early childhood education are significant. Many children see us as father figures, nurturing (yes, men can be nurturing), fun, active, an inspiration (gives them hope of becoming successful, especially the boys)."
Q. Why is play important for children?
"Children learn through PLAY! Through play, they use their creativeness, imagination, building language skills, cognitive and social skills. They learn how to master skills, problem solve, build relationships with their peers as well as learn from their peers, fine and gross motor skills. Play makes the brain healthy. Children learn about the world and surroundings through play. Outdoor play allows the children to enjoy and appreciate the environment. They can be themselves. Creativeness and imagination are essential for the outdoor game as well. Children can exercise and become healthy mentally and physically."
Q. What is your favorite memory working with children?
"Seeing how much they have grown as learners. I believe every child comes into the classroom with knowledge. It is our job as the teacher to guide and enhance what they already know. I look for moments like that. Being able to conduct their learning and seeing them excel at a new level is AMAZING!"
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
"Teaching is a rewarding field. In today's society, so many negative things are being put out about teachers concerning money, school shooting, rough schools, etc. Someone has to step up to the plate and teach our children. If we don't care for them, who will? So many lives are touched when we focus on the child and not the surrounding. I don't consider teaching as a job, I see it as a ministry. Every year, God places a group of young learners who are eager and thirsty for learning.
"Our children don't look at enough males in early childhood, especially the minority. When I was in school, I had one male teacher. He was my fourth-grade teacher. His name was Mr. Hafer. He was a blessing to me because I have wanted to be a teacher, but had doubts because I never saw any males. Mr. Hafer motivated me to go on and pursue. Don't get me wrong, my female teachers had an impact, but seeing myself (a male like Mr. Hafer) made it OK.
"Never be afraid to step out! The Bible speaks about how we can do all things through Christ. It is true! We can! If you saw me, you would not believe that I was a kid bullied and tried to take my own life. I overcame those obstacles because God had a plan. So many of our children are in the same situation. Our mission can be stressful but knowing the impact you can have on a child's life is worth it every single day.
"As a former preschool, Pre-K and kindergarten teacher, I have always been the only male. Every child in that school knew my name because I was a male teacher they didn't see every day. It was a blessing. Minorities are struggling every day. You don't find a lot of African American males in early childhood. The district I am in now, I am the first black male teacher at the primary school (K-2). I am beyond excited! Ready to change and touch lives.
"Male educators, in early childhood, we are essential. Yes, things have happened, but our children need us. Don't let anyone change your mind from being a teacher in early childhood. I was called names and mistreated by people in the community colleagues on the job. Guess what? I did not let it stop me. My mission was to teach those children. When those parents and fellow teachers saw the impact, I had made on their child, their whole demeanor changed.
"Stay focused. Stand for what is right. Men in early childhood, we rock! Don't let anyone tell you different. CONTINUE TO STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE."