Male Role Models and Outstanding Teachers

The Outstanding Teachers Awards will premiere on October 5, 2021 (World Teacher’s Day).

Mr. Edmeiko Butterfield, Whitney Institute’s School Counselor, a father and the newest member of BEN’s board of directors talked to us about teaching our young boys how to live life with integrity, hope, compassion and how BEN’s Outstanding Teacher Awards are a path to recognizing just how important these lessons are.

How would you describe your childhood?

My childhood was good! I was involved in numerous activities: kicking ball for The Great Somerset Trojans and running with Bermuda Pacers. I often think back and laugh with my friends about some of the things we did as kids. My friends and family would tell you I was a prankster! I was always up to something mischievous. However, my childhood was not perfect. I had some issues and really struggled academically.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Being a small part in helping children to reach their full potential.

What social issues do you find you deal with the most at Whitney Institute?

I deal with a lack of digital responsibility (social media issues), mostly, and peer conflict.

Why is it important that boys have male role models?

Success at school depends on having positive relationships with peers and teachers. The middle and high school years can be tough to navigate and boys AND girls look for a positive role model to help them through it. Some are searching for a father figure – and in some cases it can be easier for me than my female colleagues to build a connection with boys. But it’s important not to generalize. Regardless of gender, kids need adult role models who check in, look out for them, and show that they care. If they don’t have a positive role model, they can be at risk of being lost in life.

How do you feel about fatherhood?

I’m a family-oriented man, when my son was born, it is easy for me to kick in as a support system and take care of my responsibilities. Of course, nobody’s perfect but I want to make things different to what they were with me and my daddy. My father and I had a good relationship but it wasn’t the greatest. I want to make sure things are different with my son.

What is your parenting style and philosophy?

I am an authoritarian. For me licks are always the last resort. I believe in talking first. With any form of discipline I use, I always have a conversation about it. I want to be sure that he understands the situation. I give him a hug, a kiss on his head and let him know I still love him.

As a male educator/support, what areas of life do you feel you affect the most in your students?

Being a positive representative of a black male who has pushed through his own issues. I made it over hurdles that could have held me back. I often share the stories of my younger years with my students. Life skills are something that I push the most. How to get along with others, how to carry yourself, etc. To some, I am a counselor, others a brother, a friend, a mentor, and a father.

Why are the BEN Outstanding Teacher Awards important?

I think of all of us remember at least one teacher who had a very positive influence on our lives, but often we don’t get around to telling them. For me, there was one male teacher at high school who knew that I needed to be pushed in order to reach my potential. He opened my eyes to what I was capable of and that gave me the inner drive to get through College.

Teachers deserve more recognition and simply need to feel that they are making a difference. All of us working with young people know the work we do is important, but sometimes we need encouragement from others to lift our spirits and inspire us. It’s encouraging to know that people see your worth and appreciate it. We hope that BEN’s Outstanding Teacher Awards remind the community to recognize excellence and encourage our public-school teachers to keep striving.

The annual BEN Outstanding Teacher Award invite educators to nominate a colleague in the public schools who is an exemplary educator and leader. “Find more information at www.ben.bm

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