Many of my friends, both male and female, are music majors or education majors (or music education majors!) or already are teachers working out in the field. This isn’t horribly surprising considering my love of music and the fact that I considered teaching as a possible career for myself. I hold an incredible amount of respect for any type of teacher, regardless of sex, even though I have decided (at least at this point in my life, we’ll see down the road) that teaching isn’t for me. I believe that in order to be a good teacher, teaching must be your first passion, and for me, it’s performing, and so I decided that it’s not the right place for me. But when I actually think about it, I am a little taken aback by the number of men in my life who are teachers or aspiring future educators. I started to think about why it might be that I’m drawn to this type of man, realizing that they must have some things in common beyond just the obvious “teacher” label, and came up with this list:
- Male teachers, just like male nurses, are not afraid to be in a female dominated career. This has two major implications that I’d like to point out. First, these men really respect women. They respect their choice to be in the work force just as much as they respect their choice to stay home- or do both. A man who is a teacher isn’t intimidated by a woman having a career nor is he intimidated by (possibly) having a woman as his superior. Second, these men want to be teachers despite the fact that they are the minority, meaning they aren’t afraid to do what they want even if it isn’t the traditional path that people of their sex take. In other words, they are not explicitly bound to gender norms. Both men and women can teach, and that’s great, because they don’t need to follow what all the other men are doing to be happy.
- They’re passionate about learning. For me, this is huge because I’m passionate about learning (see “A Beautiful Mind” for more about that). Part of the reason anyone wants to teach is because they’ve learned some awesome things that they want to impart upon others. As much as it’s his job to be a teacher, it’s his job to be a learner, and I bet if you asked him, he probably likes both parts about equally as much. The learning he does on a daily basis keeps his mind fresh and agile and because of it, there’s plenty that he could teach you too.
Similarly, there’s that one thing that he’s really passionate about- probably the thing he specializes in. Whether it’s music or history, this thing gets him going like nothing else can. And if you care to listen or even share the same interest, I’m sure you’ll find it absolutely fascinating to listen to him talk about it. He’s got a plethora of information that he’d love to share, especially with someone closer to his age and probably with a lot more interest than his students.
- They’re great with kids (at least the good teachers are, anyway). I realize that that’s a huge blanket statement and maybe high school is more his scene than kindergarten, but we can at least agree that overall, they’re good with youth or young people or adolescents (people who aren’t adults!). Whatever the age he specializes in, it takes some important fatherly qualities to care for at least twenty of them, five days a week, six hours a day. And yes, I did say care because a large part of teaching is caring. Good teachers are always looking out for the best interests of their students, whether that means not cutting them a break on that assignment they turned in late or recommending that they join the math club. The more you know about the way a man teaches, the more you’ll be able to surmise about the kind of father he’ll be.
This pretty much goes without saying, but he values education. This may seem obvious, but its implications are easily neglected. If you marry a teacher, you know he’ll make sure your kids get the best education that they can receive. He’ll prioritize their college education to the best of your abilities together. He’s definitely the ideal partner when it comes to the education of your children and making sure it takes priority in your life and theirs.
Furthermore, he understands the development of children. He’s not likely to be worried if your child isn’t crawling the minute that the average says he’s supposed to be crawling. Teachers are used to seeing their students develop at their own pace, as they should, and so he’ll understand that your children work the same way.
- And you’d better believe that he loves his job. Teachers aren’t in it for the money; they’re in it because they love what they do. And although he may come home some nights disgruntled about a new standardized test they have to give or an aggressive email from a parent, he keeps on keeping on day after day because he loves what he does and he loves his students. Overall, this makes for a happier man (and a happier relationship), fostering an environment in which money isn’t everything. He knows that he’s rich because he’s happy and doing what he loves regardless of how much or how little is in his bank account.
As I list my reasons for loving men who are teachers, I also want to offer some words of appreciation. Thank you for choosing to be teachers. Thank you for seeing the value of shaping young lives and for being the difference for them. I know it’s not always easy, but it’s certainly worth it.
May God bless you on your journey as a teacher.