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"Guys Who Work With Small Children are Creepers"


Ehren

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The following is an entry from a blog I've been keeping on another site. I'm reposting this and other select entries because I feel like they provide the most insight into who I am and what I'm going through.

Originally posted June 14, 2011

When I first started working with the toddlers at my church when I was 13 my father told me to be careful because many people think guys working with small children are creepers. Looking back this seriously messed me up. I was always paranoid about doing something that would make me look like a creeper. In some ways I was always uncomfortable working with kids. I never wanted to pick them up, hold their hand, hug them etc. I was also careful not to be "too nice" to any of the kids lest their parents think I was a creeper. Now yes, there is a level of professional distance that teachers should maintain towards their students, but I was paranoid about it. It wasn't until this past year that I was able to let go of that and stop worrying about picking kids up or holding their hand or even just comforting them when they slammed head-first into the wall. I still don't hug them or anything, but I don't get uncomfortable when they hug me.

I think this whole "guys who work with small children are creepers" worldview created a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. Over time as this idea really became so ingrained in my head that I subconsciously began to view myself as a creeper simply because I worked with small children. Now obviously this isn't the only reason I began to feel the way I do, but I still think it played a very significant role in it by bringing sex into the picture and creating an underlaying sexual tension towords the kids I worked with.

The irony is that every early childhood worker I've spoken to has said that they would love to have more men in the classroom, that these kids could use more strong male role models in their lives. I've also been told by countless parents how glad they are that I work with their kids and how much they appriciate how hard I work at my job. Even so when I told my father that I was considering becoming a kindergarten teacher a few weeks ago, he reminded me that I'll probably get some strange looks when I go in to interview :/

The social stigma surrounding male teachers is so fucking sexist. I get why, the vast majority of child sex abuse is perpetrated by men (or at least that's how its portrayed, I don't know it that's really true or not) so guys around kids make people nervous. At the same time though, that's ridiculous. Woman can be creeps too. I remember reading something a few months back where someone talked about their female coworker at a daycare beating one of the kids. People just need to be careful about who they hire regardless of gender.

I also find it quite amusing how some of the women I work with always hug kids when they come in or pick them up a lot. If I started doing that (not that I want to, I don't really care) people would get suspicious but if a woman does it its cool. Its like women are expected to care for children and be mothers, but if a guy takes care of kids that aren't his own then he must have some darker ulterior motive.

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