Craig Cross is a first grade teacher at Byron's Mary Morgan Elementary School. He joins fifth grade science teacher Gene Bradford, fifth grade social studies teacher Dale Hartman, and John Nolan, who teaches fifth grade math, as being the only male teachers in the elementary grades.
Across the country, fewer and fewer men are in the early education classrooms. Some see teaching as woman's work; others don't see the social value in teaching, but generally, it may come down to money.
“The financial part keeps people out of education generally, not just elementary ed.”
“Some of the good men we've had in this building have gone, they're doing other things.”
So how do you sell male teachers on the elementary grades? What do you tell them?
“You gotta love kids. You gotta be able to walk in the classroom and smile and love to be in there with them everyday.”
“You get a lot of interaction with parents and kids. It's high energy stuff. It's high expectations, but high energy. We just work hard everyday.”
But some changes are being made. They may not enter the nation's elementary schools, but more and more older men are entering teaching from other careers. With the help of some universities and state programs, life experience is making a difference in educating the nation's newest workforce.