Why Is That Young Man Tutoring Kids? Get Him Out!


Demonizing anyone isn’t good — gays, Jews, blacks, you name it. And it is no less despicable when we demonize a group that has, until now, enjoyed exemption: Men. Let’s just not demonize, okay?

Dear dfresfydrn
Free-Range Kids: In the early 2000s, as a member of a college honors society, I volunteer tutored at the college level. The lab there included volunteers-in-training and other development opportunities, so I had documentation I used to get employment at Sylvan learning center. They were advertising for someone to tutor high school math, science, and physics AP classes, teach an SAT prep course, and possibly some college classes, too. I was scheduled 3 afternoons a week, and alternating Saturdays, but in order to make it worth my time, I needed a 4-5 hour shift, and the high school level students only accounted for 2.

In order to fill out my schedule, at first I was paired with middle school students, but this proved legitimately problematic. Many of the students came from troubled backgrounds, and had limited self-control. Girls in their early teens had a tendency to get handsy, so we would reassign them. Ultimately that was common enough that the owner instead had me start working with children as young as 4, skipping ages 10-15, and then 16 and up. My younger students showed as much or more improvement than ones assigned to professional teachers who were moonlighting.

After a month or two, though, mothers and grandmothers started complaining. The common theme was, “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?” It was all about how I must have some ulterior motive. The pragmatic facts were that I needed money, tutoring worked with my school schedule while still allowing me to get decent sleep, and little kids behave better than 13-year-olds.

To be fair to the owner, she was apologetic and recognized the absurdity. We had 6 tables in one room, steady traffic, 3 teachers minimum in the room, the manager and owner walking through, plus multiple students at each table. Jerry Sandusky himself couldn’t have managed anything inappropriate. We joked about me having my girlfriend at the time make out with me where I could be seen in the parking lot, but my hours ended up dwindling. I went back to doing restaurant work, and everyone lost until they found a retired professor that needed a hobby and didn’t have minimum hours requirements.

It’s always stuck with me how, from a practical standpoint, the kids could hardly have been safer, but I was somehow a threat by virtue of being male. I suspect being skinny and 5’9 had something to do with it.

Lately I’ve been questioned at playgrounds, but my 3- and 6-year-old tend to yell “Hey! Watch this!” at me enough that I think it runs interference. 

On a positive note, maybe this program will change perceptions of male teachers: Call Me Mister. – Matt

Just looked at the program. It seems terrific and I hope that it does indeed bring male role models back into kids’ lives. We cannot keep “worst-first thinking” whenever a man wants to work with, talk to, or help kids.

On another note: I have never heard of skinniness making someone more threatening. – L

Does that guy HAVE to be my kid's tutor?

Does that guy HAVE to be my kid’s tutor?

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52 Responses to Why Is That Young Man Tutoring Kids? Get Him Out!

  1. Vicki Bradley May 12, 2016 at 10:36 am #

    My kids are no longer in public school but two of the best teachers at the public school they attended were both men. They had every quality you would want in a teacher who works with young kids, and I never heard any parent question the fact that they were men. They are both still at that school and I would certainly hope that is still the case.

  2. Peter Brülls May 12, 2016 at 11:09 am #

    I assume the skinniness is taken as “weird” and “not a strapping male → doesn’t get real women → is sexually frustrated → will molest our kids”. Y’know, *real* men would obviously rape women, not kids.

  3. Backroads May 12, 2016 at 11:18 am #

    As a teacher I’ve so far only worked in Title 1/low income/troubled background schools at the elementary level.

    What I find awesome is that generally our male teachers, even being elementary teachers, are often requested. The reasoning single moms give is they want a positive male role model for their children.

  4. Jessica May 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    My two favorite teachers were both male. But I do remember a rumor going around that another male teacher was a bit of a creeper, but he wasn’t let go (he was killed in a freak skiing accident when I was still in elementary school). I wonder nowadays if he was just a bit awkward and all of the talk was just that.

  5. Lyndsay May 12, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    This. Until very recently (when he left to pursue a new career), one of the three year old teachers at our day care was a young man. When my oldest had him, he was just a year out of high school. I recall being at Back to School Night and several mothers saying to the lead teacher, “What can you tell us about this Sean? Why is he teaching preschool?” To the lead teacher’s credit, she simply focused on his training and how fantastic he was with the kids and never mentioned the fact that he happened to be male. Even my mother kept saying to me, “I don’t like it. Why would a young man want to work with preschoolers?” On a more positive note, people soon came to see that he was a fantastic teacher and had an amazing way of handling the kids. By this year when my second daughter had him as a teacher, no one questioned anything about him. He was finally accepted as a favorite of the children. It just always made me sad that he had to work twice as hard to gain the trust of parents.

  6. Robert Monroe, Jr. May 12, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

    When I lived in Boston in the early 80’s I began substituting at a drop-off center where there were children ranging from 6 months to 6 years old. Eventually, I got a permanent job there with a friend of mine (also, a man). We would often have about 10 to 15 kids there speaking 3 or 4 different languages. My friend and I learned some of the basics of the different languages (“Hello”, “Good bye”, “Bathroom”, etc.) and had fun with the kids until it was time for them to be picked up. Many families liked having two men working with kids…especially single mothers who saw us as positive male role models. But, there were some women who looked at us with suspicion wondering why two men would want to work with children. Eventually, their complaints reached influential ears and the drop-off center was closed. But, we had provided a community service, so it was reopened…with women running it. We later found out that the center closed because the women they hired couldn’t deal with the kids, the language barriers, etc.

    Many years later, when my wife and I were taking parenting classes, the instructor was very condescending to the first-time fathers…acting like we had no idea what to do with a baby. She was surprised that I already knew how to change a diaper, hold a baby properly, feed and burp a baby, etc. When I would take the infants with me when I went grocery shopping and one would start to cry women would swoop down to take care of the situation as if I was totally incapable of comforting a baby. When my kids were toddlers and I would go shopping with my daughter I would get suspicious looks from people wondering what a grown man was doing with a little girl. It’s apparent to me that society believes that men aren’t supposed to deal with children who aren’t theirs but are, all the sudden, supposed to be engaged fathers while at the same time looked at with suspicion if they are in public with their daughters. Our society is sick in the head.

  7. MichaelF May 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

    Interesting, and just looking at the roster at my son’s elementary school I don’t see any male teachers at all.

    That’s just sad.

  8. EricS May 12, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    This is caused by ignorant, insecure, fearful, and very stupid people. Mainly women. No offense to the reasonable, logical, and sensible women out there. But some of your gender are absolutely ridiculous. It’s like they are choosing to live a life of “reality tv”. It’s very easy to manipulate these types of people. All they have to do is hear it from someone they know, and it’s automatically written in stone. Hell, in these group of people, if one were to say “I bough a magic rock”, I’ll put money down that everyone else in that group will buy a rock, hoping it will be magical. Without questioning the validity. lol Such is the world of sheeples. I’m glad I’m not part of it. But unfortunately, I have to deal with it.

    I now my rights. And I just laugh at people to their faces when they say stupid crap like, “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?” I’ve had people say similar stupid things to me. And I’ve said, “why do you have children? Because you know, there are pedophile parents out there. And parents who abuse and enslave their children. You must be one of those people. You look like one of those people.” It’s so funny how quickly they get offended. Offended by actual FACTS that I’m painting them in. Which is what they are exactly doing to others. I cannot, and refuse to respect hypocrites. Golden rule people. Golden rule. 😉

  9. pentamom May 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm #

    “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?”

    Ummmmm…..to get paid?

    Some people, it’s hard to share a planet with.

  10. EricS May 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    @Michael F: Very sad. Especially for the fact that there are plenty of women child abusers, molestors, and pedophiles as well. Women are, and have been done the same atrocities as men. People tend to forget, this isn’t a man vs woman thing. This is about human beings. As human beings, we are capable of good things, as well as bad. It’s a choice we all make. And women have made very bad choices, just as bad as men. That is plain fact. Not hearsay, or speculation. FACT. But then again, ignorant people have no clue about most things.

  11. Vaughan Evans May 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    When I was 18, I took an 11-year old boy around a paper route.
    But my mother thought at 18, my reputation would be marred.
    -When I was 22,-and played games with a 12-year old girl, my mother said that even a boy of 16 would be looked upon with suspicion-doing things with a 12 ye r old girl.
    And this was the same mother who had had a great respect for boys and men(She had 3 brothers.)

  12. BL May 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?”

    Well, gee, why would a young *woman* want to work with little kids?

  13. Backroads May 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Just chatted about this post to a friend. She’s in the Coast Guard. A few years’ back, one of her buddies retired: a hulking and terrifying giant of a man, almost 7 feet tall and built like a boulder. This gentleman, for his new civilian career, became… a kindergarten teacher. Apparently he his beloved by the children, scares off the more difficult parents unwilling to cooperate by appearance alone, and is now a favorite of his school.

    Now, allowing for plenty of interpretation of what works as a family and a community and all the less-than-ideal situations that still provides a perfectly valid existence of a family and community, I daresay the majority of us still claim that, ideally, a man should be involved in a positive way in family and community. Yet a number of people, while saying that, suddenly balk at a man! (see… “eek! a male!”) We simply cannot have it both ways. We should not expect and demand men to hang their heads and keep a low profile and then whine and moan about how men don’t contribute to families and communities. We should be holding men in high regard and giving them high standards… because I bet the vast majority are awesome men who can handle high standards and are worthy of respect.

  14. Backroads May 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    “”“Why would a young man want to work with little kids?”

    Well, gee, why would a young *woman* want to work with little kids?””

    I know you meant that in snark, but I just must respond!

    Because many people, regardless of gender, have a pronounced nurturing side that is of high value and interest to them. They enjoy the leadership atmosphere, connect well with youth, and have all sorts of skills and talents that benefit such an environment.

    Because it’s fun!

    Trust me, society, secret perverted desires as nothing to do with it, believe it or not. Heaven forbid we have a family-based society that likes social connections. Heaven forbid the adults of our species have interest in caring for our youth.

  15. BL May 12, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    “I know you meant that in snark, but I just must respond!”

    Yes, it was. I’ve done a good bit of tutoring myself, although it was college students (when i was one myself – it was called peer-group tutoring,as I recall), not little kids.

  16. Nicole R. May 12, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    We are losing a HUGE resource when we keep men from jobs working with kids! So many would benefit SO much to have those wonderful role models.

    P.S. – @ pentamom, I LOVE this quote: “Some people, it’s hard to share a planet with.”

  17. Dee May 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm #

    I have to wonder if this is a largely American thing. My son’s school has an immersion program and several of the elementary teachers are male. None of the English teachers are male until you get to middle school.

    I will say, however, that it reminds me of when I was looking for my first gynecologist. I told someone – an older woman that I was working with – that I wanted to find a female gynecologist. She couldn’t understand that. Why would a woman want to do that, she asked and said she thought she must be a lesbian. I was speechless! Apparently she had never had the same thought about a man and never generally considered that they went into practice simply to be doctors (and very likely to help women deliver healthy babies).

  18. Scott Fischer May 12, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    Robert Monroe: “Many years later, when my wife and I were taking parenting classes, the instructor was very condescending to the first-time fathers…”

    I had the same experience with an extremely condescending instructor. It was so bad, after each session all I could remember were all the digs she took at the men and how many times she inferred that it was in our nature to be selfish and useless partners to our wives during their pregnancy. Out of respect for the other class participants, I took it in, held my tongue, and completed the weekly sessions. Thinking about it all these years later I wish I had spoken up.

  19. JulieC May 12, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    Many women today, sadly, have been conditioned to view men as inferior. I see it in some of my peers – making degrading comments about men, bad-mouthing their husbands about everything, talking about college-aged men as potential rapists, assuming the worst about men and boys and viewing girls as somehow above suspicion in any he-said she-said case.

    You saw it in the Rolling Stone-UVA story, for example.

    The three elementary schools in my town have NO male teachers. The middle school has maybe eight. Only at the high school level does the ratio approach 50/50.

  20. lollipoplover May 12, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    It’s not just with tutoring children, it happens with swim lessons, too.

    My son got his Red Cross certification(expensive!) and will be working this summer as a lifeguard. This same community pool offers morning swim lessons (taught by lifeguards) but many, many parents request *female only* to teach their kids to swim! Most of the instructor jobs went to female lifeguards as there are a number of parents who seem to fear bad things being done by male lifeguards in those 30 minutes right in front of parents. When my kids were taught to swim at this very pool, I never considered the sex of the instructor, just their way with kids and getting them to have fun swimming. We’ve had really good male teachers and female, too. This way of thinking is so twisted and prejudiced but so many have been conditioned to the point of insanity and having a son who now has to deal with these dingbats and their prejudice infuriates me!

  21. Donna May 12, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?”

    Because extremely few of us are independently wealthy, so we have to work somewhere, and this job was hiring when he needed employment, and, as the most important part, actually agreed to hire him?

    It seems like an incredibly bizarre question to ask about someone who is being paid to do a job. While it is bizarre in any employment arena, it seems even more bizarre when talking about a part-time college job rather than a well thought out career decision. It is not like I woke up one morning when I was 18 and decided that bagging groceries at Kroger was my life’s calling and I really wanted to do it. Kroger, however, did need baggers at the same time that I needed employment so I ended up bagging groceries at Kroger.

  22. Donald May 12, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    I think that all males should be made to sit in the back of the bus

  23. Theresa May 12, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    When it comes to boys it’s silly. Boys are either after everyone or they are helpless against homones and so can’t help treating girls like tramps. I mean you always hear about girls who coded for showing any skin and yet boys are given no chance to earn respect.

  24. Rebecca May 12, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    So as a society we can bemoan the loss of the “traditional father” role in many households – particularly at the lower end of the economic scale – and yet at the same time fear all males in any sort contact with children?

    What sense does that make?!! Aren’t any of these people parents of boys? Can’t they see the ludicrousness of the whole thing? You are creating a world where your sons will be feared and persecuted!! Every time a person shouts at a man for being at a park, calls the police on a male near a school, questions a professional’s motives for being in that profession, they make their son’s life harder and harder and harder because HE is going to have to grow up and live with the consequences of the world that has been created.

    As you can tell, I have sons. And when I read this sort of thing I want to rage and weep in frustration. I’ve spent decades raising thoughtful, decent, honest, kind and respectable men and society wants me to treat them like pariahs deserving of no compassion and understanding.

  25. Havva May 12, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    I am very lucky to have my daughter at a daycare/preschool that has had a couple male teachers. The first one was brought on with bunches of reassurance that he was only there temporarily. That they were continuing to look for a teacher to fill the position permanently. Fortunately the short lived parents listserve was put to excellent use. A mom who’s son really liked the teacher spoke up, and reminded the other moms that his temporary contract was nearing an end. The first reaction from the director of the center was to remind all parents that he only had a temporary contract and that they were looking for someone to take the position when his contract expired. The parents (most or all moms of boys I think) kicked around the lack of male role models issue, and how hard it is for men to work in child care. Then a bunch of them agreed that he probably was never offered a permanent position and decided that they should tell the director how much their kids loved him, and that he should be offered the job permanently. He took the full time post, and has stuck around longer than a lot of the other teachers. He clearly loves his job. He is perfectly willing to take responsibility for guiding preschool kids trying slightly dangerous things (like using hammers) and brings an understanding that other teachers don’t have (including letting my daughter wrestle and roughhouse with the boys, which she loves).

  26. Paul Bearer May 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    As a man who works frequently with elementary schoolers, nothing is more frightening than when they start trying to hug you. The expression on my face, the way I desperately try to keep them at arm’s length, you’d think I was grappling with a 4-foot tall spider hellbent on ripping my heart out. I’m sure that sort of rejection, no matter how kind I try to be, makes them feel great.

    I haven’t felt any unusual scrutiny (yet), but I honestly don’t know how I’d handle it. This is one situation where our country’s overly litigious nature could be put to good use, as I’d certainly consider legal action if I felt unfairly targeted at work due to my gender.

    I am, by the way, a favorite teacher of dozens of kids at that school. With many others remarking that they’ve never seen kids react to any other teacher with such enthusiasm. Of course, this wouldn’t count for anything if even an ounce of doubt were placed into people’s heads.

  27. Angela May 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

    Rebecca – “Aren’t any of these people parents of boys? Can’t they see the ludicrousness of the whole thing?”

    When I began dating my current husband, I had three children (Male – 11, Female – 10, Female – 5) and he had one (Male – 2). His son was ill one weekend and we left the children at home for an hour at most as we went to get medication, popsicles, ice cream and other goodies sick kids get in my house.

    For some reason, during this time, his ex’s mother stopped by and freaked out that the kids were home alone. His ex denied him visitation for weeks before we got the courts involved and the courts not only sided with us, they gave my husband more visitation that he had been asking for as a result.

    The most serious claim that she made during all this was that my 11 year old son, as a “male child of divorce,” was very likely to be a pedophile, “because that’s what happens.” It was quite difficult to keep my mouth shut since she has 2 sons with different fathers, both of whom she left within months of the boys’ births. We get along great now and she has since thanked me for being a part of her son’s life, but I doubt that would be the case if I had spoken up at the time.

  28. Betsy in Michigan May 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Paul Bearer – we have, at my son’s 3rd-6th grade charter school, a parapro who is a big bear of an older grandpa man. By way of warm greeting, he is in the habit of saying to kids and parents “Mr. ___ loves you”. I have seen how he handles the girls hugging him – he tells them to hug him (or any man) from the SIDE. While it’s too bad this is necessary, this provides a non-threatening way for humans to express emotion. While this African American man may seem like a teddy bear, he is nobody’s fool, and doesn’t let any kids pull the wool over his eyes. I wish we had more positive male role models like him around.

  29. A Reader May 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    I once sent my oldest to a preschool summer camp where one of the counselors was the teenage son of the director. I don’t think anyone questioned him, everyone knew he was the director’s son. one day I asked him if he’d be available to babysit one evening later that week. I figured he’d be the perfect choice, my son knew him, and I knew he could look after little kids. He happily agreed, and then later that day, his mom called me to thank me. She said her teenage daughters babysat all the time, but people don’t like male babysitters so her son missed out on the easy money that comes with babysitting. I was floored. It was never a question that someone who took care of a group of small children during the day, one of whom was mine, would be an excellent person person to look after my kids. And as a mom of 3 boys, I do worry about them living in a world where they will always be presumed guilty of untoward behavior just for being male.

  30. Ron Skurat May 12, 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    Soooo, discriminating against women in the workplace is bad, but . . .

  31. JP Merzetti May 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm #

    The problem here is obvious:
    Ask that same question….roll it around on your tongue a little, savor it…….bounce it through the pinball synapses of your sensibility. a young man want to spend time (and effort) – with little kids…..
    That ubiquitous question….why?

    Now I’ll ask a counter-question: Is it really a good thing that young men should become estranged from children?
    Now, the most serious busybodies and worryworts will of course, answer that question in the negative.
    Comes my next question: and how is it that these same young men suddenly and instantly somehow, become perfectly perfect non-threatening and wonderful role models for young children?
    (Perhaps….the answer to that question just might be – they’re not supposed to.)

    In other words, other than performing as walking sperm banks for the procreational purposes and begetting of young children, they should just step smartly to the sidelines, and leave that chore to females, period.

    Well…..I beg to differ.
    Starting at the age of 14, and having to “mother” my kid sister in a single parent family….I evolved (in a natural way) into a kid-friendly respector, protector, teacher, caregiver, (and all the rest of the domestic stuff that young kids require in order to prosper and wax happily through childhood.)

    I don’t believe in instamatic sudden credentials…it takes time, and that time were better started young in life.
    (It makes for lasting perceptions, sensibilities, consistencies and wonderful confidence.)

    I’m male, my blood is still red, I’ve managed to retain some measure of respect for my gender – and questions of that nature still make me bristle.
    The point being: grown men (and not so grown) still cry. They still feel. They can even get sentimental as all heck.
    (Attend an Italian opera in Italy sometime and you’ll see what I mean.)
    Of course there are still exceptions to this. All over the place. Far too many.
    I don’t believe (and never have) that the answer to that problem is a “gender segregation.”
    I would have fought that to the death.
    But then….I love kids. No heart on my sleeve proves that. But my actions do. (Just ask the kids. You will…..get honest answers.)
    Teaching children is truly one of life’s treasures.

  32. kate May 12, 2016 at 7:10 pm #

    Robert Monroe- Why did you feel the need to take a parenting class? You obviously had experience with infants and toddlers.
    Why would a male want to work with kids? Because they are generally non-judgemental and open. Also, loving and funny and can have very interesting perspectives on the world.

    I was a nanny when I started dating my husband. The kids loved him. We knew they were comfortable with his visits when the 3 year old came flying at him and jumped into his lap for a hug. My employers even invited him along on family events.

    We are lucky to live in an area where there is not so much paranoa. He is always making faces at little ones at restraunts or the supermarket. People around here usually smile when they see his pleasure in connecting with their child.

  33. Peter May 12, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

    I have an interesting twist…

    My roommate is Vietnamese. She came to this country with her 5 sisters and they would have wonderful family get-togethers, which they would invite me to. Now the five sisters had two kids each, so there were ten kids around who would play together while the adults sat around and chatted.

    I played with the kids.

    The reason I’d play with the kids? Because, as a group, they would speak english which made it easier for me to be involved. The adults, as a group, spoke Vietnamese. The language skills in the group ranged from excellent to nonexistent (the parents and one of the husbands) so it was easier if all the adults just spoke Vietnamese. I didn’t take it personally and I could chat one-on-one with any of the sisters.

    None of the adults really thought twice about it and, for the kids, I was the “fun uncle.” When my roommate would come by, the kids would always ask, “Where’s Peter?” My roommate and I would offer to take the kids to the beach or go shopping or go out for American food. I taught a couple of them how to eat American food with a fork and knife. Their Moms would drop the kids at our place on Saturday afternoons because we had a pool.

    After about 5 or 6 years, as the kids got closer to their teenage years, I overheard one of them remark how it was weird that I hung out with them and not the other adults. Their parents were fine with it–it was the kids who were a bit concerned! I decided that it was time for me to bow out of their lives. They were getting a bit old for hide-and-seek anyway. But it definitely made me kind of sad.

  34. Donald May 12, 2016 at 10:43 pm #

    “Soooo, discriminating against women in the workplace is bad, but . . .”

    If someone was to publicly comment that women are either:
    “not as smart as men in the workforce”
    “are only good for making coffee”

    then you would be ostracized for this discriminating comment.

    However it’s okay to publicly comment, “Why would a young man want to work with little kids?” and suggest that he is probably a pervert.
    You can make schools administrators fire the man

    Nothing would happen to you for this comment. You can feel superior and self righteous.

  35. sexhysteria May 13, 2016 at 1:22 am #

    As a male teacher one of my biggest problems is the jealousy of female teachers because kids usually prefer me. Women used to complain that men should be more involved in childcare, but nowadays women are complaining that men shouldn’t be involved?

  36. gap.runner May 13, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Germany does not have man phobia like in the States. My 17-year-old son tutors the 7th grade girl who lives upstairs from us in math and English. When my son goes upstairs for the tutoring session, the girl’s mother leaves the house to go grocery shopping and run other errands. My neighbor is happy that her daughter’s grades have improved because of the tutoring sessions. She is also glad that she found someone who helped her daughter understand her English and math lessons. The tutor’s gender is irrelevant.

    Contrast this to talking to a local American who was looking for a tutor for his teenage daughter. I mentioned that my son tutors our neighbor’s daughter and is looking for another job. He told me that he preferred to have a female tutor who is over 18 for his daughter.

    As an aside, people in the States also have the same fear of men in public toilets. I ran a race in Munich last Sunday and ended up using the men’s WC before the start because the line for the women’s toilets was extremely long. My (female) friend with me, who is Italian, suggested going into the men’s WC. We got in the short line for the stalls and were in full view of the men using the urinals. Nobody said anything to us about being in the wrong place or gave us a second glance. Two more women got in line for the stalls after us and everyone just kept taking care of their business without any reaction.

  37. Sid Raisch May 13, 2016 at 6:52 am #

    That owner should have handled it better. She could have said, “you can see that everything here is well supervised and that the children are engaged, and have a positive role model they can identify with. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

    My two younger sons had the benefit of a male third grade teacher. He was the best grade school teacher of all.

    My uncle began teaching in the mid 70’s. He wanted to teach K but the schools wouldn’t let him and put him in fourth grade.

  38. Katie G May 13, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    Let’s start using the word “sexist” whenever and wherever we encounter this attitude, and the Golden Rule part (“Do you want the men in your life treated the way you’re treating this guy?”). It could be a slow game changer. I don’t want my sons treated that way, and more immediately, not my husband, cousins, or friends. And then too, our nephews are eleven years apart in age (currently 14 and 3.) I DO NOT want anyone being suspicious of the older one for being with his brother. The 14yo is a very godly, pleasant, and talented young person and I’d be a bit mama-bear-ish for an aunt if he was treated badly just for being a young man.

  39. CrazyCatLady May 13, 2016 at 9:43 am #

    When I was in college, I worked in a very large preschool that my boyfriend’s mother owned and ran. On overload days, she got her teenage sons to come in and serve as aids to the teachers. The kids LOVED this. The kids had no idea how old they were (15 to 18) and thought that all of them were adults like the other (female) teachers. I suspect that no males came in to apply for job openings when they happened. No one ever questioned more than wondering who the teens were. I will say, like the author of the post above, there was one girl who made the guys nervous….she was a child of a single mom and she wanted to sit on the laps of the guys and squirm around…the sons quickly learned to stand when she came around.

  40. Jason May 13, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    @gap.runner – I remember standing at s urinal in Europa-Park when a middle-aged woman came through with a rag, wiping down the adjoining fixtures. I asked my German friend if that was normal, and she said “Sure, why not?” A couple of years ago, I had a similar experience in a Parisian department store. I figure that they’re just busy cleaning, and laugh at the differences in our cultures.

    But, and more to the point of this blog, do men typically work in the womens’ WCs while they are in use?

  41. Katie G May 14, 2016 at 6:28 am #

    @Jason- When men are cleaning the women’s restroom, there’s often a caution sign put in place at the doorway; that’s also partly a “caution, wet floor” which may even be put at the door of a men’s room for the same reason! I haven’t noticed!

  42. Papilio May 15, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

    “On another note: I have never heard of skinniness making someone more threatening. – L”

    *nods* Especially you, Lenore. I guess this is how you got promoted to *World’s* Worst Mom 😛

  43. Another Katie May 16, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    Our kindergartener had a male preschool daycare teacher when she was 3. We thought it was great, and she still speaks fondly about “Mr. Will”. It seemed particularly beneficial for the two or three kids in the class who did not have an adult male role model at home. He was very dedicated to teaching, did a great job of it, and has since moved on to teaching elementary special ed in the public schools.

    There are several male teachers at the preschool and school-aged side of the center now; college students who work there part time. Most are sons of full time teachers and/or attended this daycare themselves many years ago. Our kindergartener will go there this summer for the school-age summer camp and our younger daughter is moving to the preschool next month – we have zero concern about them having male teachers.

    The owner/director of the daycare said to us once that she *can’t* have the male teachers work in the infant and toddler side of the center – she tried that before and there was uproar from a sizable minority of parents at the prospect of a male caregiver. Even though caregivers/teachers are background checked and fingerprinted, and there are always multiple caregivers present, these parents still thought there had to be something “wrong” with a man who worked with young children.

    Our older child’s elementary school has male classroom teachers in most grades, along with male phys ed and music teachers. From what I’ve heard this is not the norm in many elementary schools today.

  44. Mich May 17, 2016 at 12:47 am #

    Grrr…..my daughter’s kindergarten teacher was male…he was the best teacher we’ve EVER had for her. I’ve found all here elementary school teachers who were male to be excellent – maybe they have to to overcome the stigma of being male and working with children. We had a male nanny, he was great. Just makes me mad, and sad. After all, we tell men and boys to stay away from kids, chastise them for getting close to a child. Then they grow up, become dads and we expect them to switch it on and be perfect hands-on dads without ever having the opportunity to baby sit, work with kids that many girls naturally get growing up. And we wonder why they feel it is uncomfortable & unnatural?

  45. Alex May 17, 2016 at 2:17 am #

    I work at a small tutoring business, and I am happy to say most of the time I have not encountered this problem.

    I prefer to avoid the youngest kids actually, and in my experience the middle aged kids don’t behave that badly. There are some well-behaved and some poorly-behaved people in every age group.

    There have been a few students whose parents have requested a female tutor (and we do have one who tutors those students), but half the time I suspect that is because they feel the average female tutor can connect with and teach a female student better than the average male tutor can. That may be true in some subjects, but I don’t think it is true in math. Most of the female (and male) students I’ve tutored have done very well in their classes.

    I’ve seen the sort of tutoring places Matt is talking about – large rooms with lots of tables and lots of tutors. I used to work at one in college (tutoring other college students in math and a couple other subjects), and I walk by a Mathnasium every day on my way to the tutoring place where I work and back. There is virtually no way anything could happen there, and if something harmful did happen then all of the other tutors would immediately pounce on the offending tutor within seconds.

    I’ve been working at my tutoring place for a couple years now, and maybe 20% of the time I am the only employee there, as my boss mostly handles group classes and there are certain days and times when she does not have those and thus does not need to be there at work. So far this has never been an issue. The student shows up, gets tutored (sometimes with mom waiting but usually with mom leaving and coming back at the end of the appointment), and leaves alive and fine at the end of the hour – the only difference being a better knowledge of math than they had going in.

    I’m often impressed with how “free range”-ish these students are compared with my own upbringing. My mom never had the money to pay for tutoring for me anyway (and most of the time I did not need it), but if I had told her in 7th grade I wanted her to drop me off at a place where it’s just me and the tutor, leave, and come back in an hour, I think she would’ve laughed at me — or more likely, just told me a stern “No”. But many of these students’ parents trust them to walk into a building by themselves and then walk out alive an hour later. I know that SHOULDN’T be impressive, but it is in today’s America. A few students will even take the bus.

    Just sharing this positive experience to balance out Matt’s somewhat negative experience. I worry a bit about persecution for being a male tutor, sure, but I luckily have not experienced much.

  46. BL May 17, 2016 at 7:15 am #

    ‘I’m often impressed with how “free range”-ish these students are compared with my own upbringing. My mom never had the money to pay for tutoring for me anyway (and most of the time I did not need it), but if I had told her in 7th grade I wanted her to drop me off at a place where it’s just me and the tutor, leave, and come back in an hour, I think she would’ve laughed at me — or more likely, just told me a stern “No”. But many of these students’ parents trust them to walk into a building by themselves and then walk out alive an hour later. I know that SHOULDN’T be impressive, but it is in today’s America. A few students will even take the bus.’

    Are a lot of your tutored students homeschooled?

  47. Alex May 19, 2016 at 7:59 am #


    No, it’s rare that I have a homeschooled student. There’s a mix of private and public school students, but very few homeschooled students.

  48. David May 21, 2016 at 5:23 pm #

    This is the exact reason I decided not to pursue a career in teaching. After completing my undergraduate degree in 1998 I applied for a position as a classroom assistant in a primary school, ages 4 – 12, to get some classroom experience before doing a post graduate teaching qualification. My application was treated as a problem to be fielded, and I was challenged in front of the rest of the candidates, all women, as to how I would handle a situation in which a child had soiled themselves. Although I said that I would do whatever the school’s policy said was appropriate, my heart sank, and I realised that I would always be seen as a threat by many people. I gave up and walked away from teaching for good.

    One in four primary schools in England have no male staff.

  49. JR May 21, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    It’s almost as if there were an extremely powerful, widespread, media dominating group/ideology that was entirely predicated on the idea that all men are brutally terrorizing and oppressing all women for no reason except how evil they naturally are.

    It’s almost as if decades of constant claims of violence and “rape culture” and men’s evils have led to society viewing all men with distrust and suspicion.

  50. Val May 22, 2016 at 12:02 am #

    “Demonising… a group that has, until now, enjoyed exemption: Men”

    Thanks for the rest of the very much needed article, but you’re still a fair bit down the rabbit hole if you think this.

  51. Old skewl ghoul May 22, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    This is the world you wanted ladies. You wanted women to reign supreme in the home and the workplace, you wanted women to run men out of the family unit, to see men marginalised and demonised at every turn, so suck it up – this is the world you wanted.

    Enjoy shopping with your daughters, chuckling at the “stupid men” in every kids’ TV programme, during every ad break, and I hope you enjoy the “boys are stupid, throw rocks at them” t-shirts on sale in the malls.

    Because when you strong, empowered wimmin are moaning about the stress of holding down a job full-time and raising the kids I, and countless men like me, will be laughing, enjoying our single lives and working a minimum number of hours needed to keep a roof over our heads and brews in the fridge. Because sistas will be doin’ it (all) for themselves. Including cleaning muck out of gutters.

  52. Jim May 24, 2016 at 4:17 pm #

    I am a male social worker and the clients that I work with are males between the ages of 5 and 18. I enjoy the job because it is rewarding but I have had similar things happen involving parents judge me simply because I was a male. I have male coworkers quit due to similar issues and have started to look for jobs in other fields outside of social work. How this stigma continues to be one, I don’t know considering that 68% of those perpetrated on is by a relative.