Men in Early Childhood Education: My Interview With Gabriel Gabriel From India! by Mike Prochaska
Gabriel Gabriel is a teacher from Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India. He works with kids between the ages of 3 and 7, and handles classes and parenting sessions for older age groups. Let's learn a little more about Gabriel...
Q. How did you get into this field?
"Working in schools was my passion, but taking up Early Childhood Education was an unexpected opportunity. As I started to spend time with kindergarten kids and began working with them, slowly I began to realize that this is where I need to be. Children began to feel comfortable with me and vice versa. I began to explore and read a lot and slowly began to learn and experience a lot in the field of Early Childhood Education."
Q. What are the advantages of being a man in Early Childhood Education?
"Either being a male or female doesn’t have much impact on the child’s learning and development. Also, it depends on each child, how he or she takes it. In general, how you are and what you are for a child at that particular moment decides the learning and development rapport between the facilitator (teacher) and the child."
Q. Why is play important for children?
"It is very simple and logical. Learning is something natural for a child. Play is the very natural way a child learns and explores. 'Structured' and 'unstructured,' 'free play' or 'indoor' or 'outdoor,' these are only the terms of an adult. For a child, it is just a play, and learning happens as a byproduct, without any well-defined hypothesis. It is just natural. The child happens to choose any form of play, as she or he decide to choose in a given environment or context."
Q. What your favorite memory working with kids?
"When I started my career as a teacher, the very first day a child from kindergarten asked me why in English the alphabet 'A' is called or named as 'A' (pronunciation). This is the starting point of my research in the Early Childhood Education."
Q. Did you hear about the man who got fired for just being male? How do you feel about that?
"This is a common everywhere in my country. It’s because of lack of understanding regarding early childhood learning and development. I do sometimes experience it. But once people see me, how I work with the kids, and vice versa, they do agree with the fact the gender has nothing to do with Early Childhood Education."
Q. Anything inspiring to tell anyone thinking of going into this field?
“I always say that most of the time [the] 'classroom' isn’t the right place for learning and development. It has been my experience so far."