« I went into the field of my choice—and I'm so glad I did! »
Alain Duperré, age 41 Kindergarten Daycare Educator
Being a guy opens many doors in the daycare field—we’re really in demand! As soon as I completed my studies, many schools called to recruit me. I had a tough time choosing!
Men bring a different type of energy that’s very sought after. In the school yard, for example, female educators often take part in calmer activities like drawing with chalk or dancing. But I’m more likely to jump into ball games and organize hockey games in the winter, and soccer games in the summer. I like it when things are moving! I’m not as tender with the kids as my female colleagues, but I show my affection differently. A mix of male and female educators creates good balance in a daycare.
I’ve been doing this work for around 10 years, and I’m really happy. It requires a lot of patience, but men can be just as patient as women! I’ve always enjoyed taking care of kids. When I was younger, I spent a lot of time at summer camps and was a monitor for four years. After that, I worked in the hotel industry for a while. But I missed working with kids, so I went back to school to get an attestation of college studies in childcare services. There were only two men in the program, and 50 or so women. Once, in history class, the teacher mentioned the period during World War II when women entered the labour market in great numbers. I laughed and exclaimed, “That’s when our troubles started!” Needless to say, I got quite an earful (laughing)! Other than that, everything went very smoothly!
At the daycare centre, I’m the only guy on a team of 12, although our boss is a guy. It’s true that in the beginning, being a ‘visible minority’ can be intimidating. But soon enough, you stop thinking in terms of guys and girls and instead start focusing on the people with whom you have a rapport. And guys are greatly appreciated, which is rewarding. My hands-on skills are quite in demand! I recently offered to build birdhouses for an activity and spent all day working at home on my sawbench. The next day, when I came to work with 40 birdhouses, I was a big hit, let me tell you! I would add that, during interdepartmental meetings, the few male educators in attendance are listened to very carefully when they have something to say.
Parents also like having a male presence at the daycare centre. I’ve never had any negative or unpleasant comments. Not from a father or mother or anyone. My family, friends and everyone else have been really supportive and encouraging.
I’ve never once thought, “I won’t work at a daycare centre, because I’ll only be around women.” That never even crossed my mind. I just went right into the field of my choice—and I’m so glad I did!