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Fathers in Education

Updated: May 10, 2023

Being a father and educator is often seen as a sacrifice between a comfortable family life and following your passion. While the field of education might seem like a difficult path to lead, following your passion and raising a family may just be as rewarding as they say. We asked a couple fathers to share their experience as educators and family men.

Carl Stubbs, Principal of Mountain Trails Elementary

Why did you choose education as a career path?

I started out thinking I wanted to do something with youth leadership and recreational therapy. As a youngster, I had an awesome deacons quorum lesson where our advisor asked us to pick heroes in our lives that had qualities that we wanted to emulate in our lives. A few of those heroes were educators. As I explored, I decided that I wanted to be a teacher and give back to my community.

Where did you study?

I studied at BYU for my bachelors degree in Elementary Education. I took a job in California after graduation and decided to study special education at Chapman University where I got my SPED Endorsement. Later, I went to Azusa Pacific University to get my masters in elementary leadership.

How do fatherhood and education compare?

Many of my students over the years have come from non traditional homes. I have been able to fill that role of a loving adult in their lives. Similar to being a father, being a teacher is like being a rock star. My students think I’m pretty cool even though in reality I'm just a regular guy. Your own children will see you in that same light. Seeing your students succeed can be life changing, almost nothing compares to the feeling of accomplishment.

How has a career in education influenced your relationship with your family?

If you want your children to be a success in life, you had better be involved in their lives and their education. Being an elementary school teacher then administrator has helped me do that. I was able to be there for my kids!!

What has been the best part of being a male in the field of education?

In many ways being a male in the field of education has been like being a dad to many students. Recess is a total blast. Lots of our students haven't had the opportunity to play with a male role model. When I miss a shot on the BB court I accept it with grace. When I get out at 4 square, I model appropriate behavior for my students who maybe haven't learned how to get out. Then take turns while cheering on the rest of the children who haven’t been able to see the best way to be good sports. One of the biggest pros was that my schedule matched closely to my kids’ schedules.

What advice do you have for male educators looking to support a family?

Use a budget!! Take the self reliance course offered in most stakes. Find a good side hustle! My own father was an educator and he was a river guide on the Colorado during the summer months (I got to spend a lot of time outdoors with him). I’ve had quite a few summer jobs over the years; I have driven a dumpster truck, sold pine nuts, taught summer school, driven a tow truck, bought and sold items from pallets, hung and taped drywall, and been a summer camp teacher and director.

Most of all realize that what you are doing is a calling. Involve your Father in Heaven and ask for his help and blessings will flow, pay your tithing and you will be blessed. While I haven't had copious amounts of money, I have always had enough to maintain a good lifestyle and provide for my family.

Terry Darnell, Superintendent of Bernalillo Public Schools

Why did you choose education as a career path?

I decided to get into education as a career mostly because I wanted to become a high school coach. I studied at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, New Mexico. When I first went to college I was on an athletic scholarship to play basketball, but I always thought I was going to major in computer science. In the late 80's and early 90's computer science was really taking off. About mid way through my freshman year I realized that I really wanted to become a coach. That's when I decided to change my major to Education and minor in Physical Education.

How do fatherhood and education compare?

Fatherhood and education are similar in many regards. In fatherhood you are always wanting your children to be learning about life, life choices, life skills and that the decisions being made all have an outcome, positive or negative. In education it is the same, except you are teaching lessons to children that are not your own. However, you are always hoping that you are teaching lessons that will not only help them in their studies, but with life decisions. Every choice that is made has a positive or negative outcome. Even in education.

How has a career in education influenced your relationship with your family?

The biggest thing that I have noticed about me being an educator and my relationship with my family is that I am always looking to see if they are learning or growing from the lessons of life. As educators we are always accessing and looking to find ways to teach and have our students or our children learn.

What has been the best part of being a male in the field of education?

One of the pros of being a male in education is that, unfortunately, many of the students that we teach do not have a father in the home and in some cases in their lives. So, being a male role model and someone that students can come to as a father figure is important to me. I find that is a gratifying thing about being a male educator.

What advice do you have for male educators looking to support a family?

If you are a male educator and trying to support your family on a teachers salary, you will need to be willing to do the extra. Pick up a sponsor, coaching or extra stipend where you can. Also, continuing your career advancement and doing it quickly is important. Don't settle into a comfort zone that will not help you advance. Keep striving to be at the next level.

Want to learn more about teaching and the McKay School? Check out the McKay School Blog here. Have questions about becoming a teacher or joining one of the majors? Meet with one of our ambassadors here.

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