'Brother Apple' sows seeds of approval

By ZHAO YIMENG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-09-16 08:54
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Xia talks with a child at a New Year's party at the kindergarten. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY


In 2018, only about 2 percent of the 2.58 million kindergarten teachers in China were men, the lowest proportion of all school levels, according to the Ministry of Education.

A 2017 survey by China Youth Daily on how people viewed careers, showed that 53.2 percent of the 2,016 respondents thought sex preference or discrimination existed in the selection of kindergarten teachers.

Parents have also expressed concern about sexual misconduct cases involving male teachers or them being too harsh on their students, Xia said.

However, over the past 20 years, more and more people have become accepting of male kindergarten teachers.

One viewer of Xia's videos commented: "My mom is a teacher of early childhood education. She said there were not many male kindergarten teachers but they were very needed, because teachers of different genders have a different impact on children's values and personalities. Both male and female teachers are indispensable in shaping children's characters."

Another viewer commented, "Male teachers are good, because usually children lack the company of male figures in their childhood."

In recent years, several provinces, including Fujian and Hunan, have offered free education and preferential treatment to male students who train to become kindergarten and primary school teachers.

Gu Jie, a male teacher at the Brilliant International School in Beijing, said a colleague called "Brother Sunshine" teaches outdoor physical education lessons to kindergarten children at their campus.

"The children like it when Brother Sunshine plays sports and games with them," Gu said, adding he had not personally experienced gender discrimination.

"On the contrary, male teachers are more popular at the kindergarten," he said. "Most parents expect male teachers to take the same responsibility in the care of their children as female teachers, who are more common in schools. I believe more male teachers will join us in the future."

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