Jamel’s journey to becoming an Early Years Educator
What if we told you that we have come across several passionate male teachers and early years practitioners over the past few weeks?
That’s right! We have had the pleasure to collaborate with some of the most impressive and motivating early years educators in the UK. When it comes to becoming a male teacher or early years practitioner, getting to know someone who has worked in education for many years can be a source of inspiration.
Therefore, we would like to introduce Jamel to those who are considering a career in childcare and education or have recently got into teaching.
An Early Years Educator, Early Years Consultant and Children’s Author
Jamel C Campbell is an Early Years Educator, Early Years Consultant and Children’s Author. He has been in the industry for over 20 years. Early years is his speciality, but he has worked in youth clubs, schools, been a mentor to many and supported children with SEND.
Jamel is one of the UK’s Men in the Early Years champions/ambassadors. He has been featured in the media due to extensive experience and knowledge of the Early years and quirky but effective practice.
He has stood on numerous platforms and prestigious establishments as a keynote speaker, such as St Mary’s University, University of East London, Bath University to name a few. He has written articles for local newspapers (Catford Chronicle) and for well-known education and Early year’s magazines such as Optimus education, TES, Famly, FSF/Tapestry and Early years well-being magazine.
Jamel has featured on CBeebies "Tiny happy people'' as an Early Years advisor, which has been backed by the Duchess of Cambridge and the BBC’s Bitesize, giving transition tips to parents and professionals alike. He has collaborated with many well-respected Early Years professionals and consultants.
Jamel is passionate about the Early Years; he stresses the importance of having men in the Early Years and the importance of having a balanced diverse inclusive workforce, curriculum and pedagogy.
He has partnered with MITEY (Men in the Early years), which is associated with the Fatherhood Institute and has assisted L.E.Y.F. with extensive research about the effect of having men as part of the Early Years workforce.
He offers training workshops for Early Years teams and settings based around approaches to practice, representation (anti-racist practice) and staff wellbeing.
Can you walk us through the step-by-step process that you went through to get where you are today? Why did you start a career in education?
"I don’t think there was a step-by-step process to get me to where I am today. It all started with my uncle telling me to start a course. That course required me to do placements. One was in a nursing home, one was in a youth club and was in a school, and one was in a nursery and, yeah, once I worked in a nursery I didn’t look back.
Put the keys to my practice is the fact that I’m passionate about the early years and passionate about seeing children thrive, so I’m constantly studying, constantly training, constantly conversating with my colleagues and learning new ways to sharpen my practice, sharpen my mindset and my prospective. Teaching is more than degrees and certificates: it’s a mindset."
Which teacher from the past are you inspired to and why?
"I don’t have one teacher. I have many that have helped me and mentored me, people like Decent Henry, Simon Minott, Laura Henry Allen and Anjali Deb Mukherjee, such talented inspiring amazing people."
What is your favourite thing about teaching?
"Seeing children thrive!"
How long have you been teaching for? And where do you see yourself in five years?
"I’ve been teaching for 20 years now. In the next five years I see myself playing a key role in children’s literature, with several published children’s books. I see myself being a key figure within the Early Years education sector when it comes to practice and approaches to learning and approaches to anti-racist, non-biased pedagogy."
What would you say a teacher’s biggest strength should be?
"The teacher’s biggest strength should be in their ability to adapt. The teacher’s bigger strengths should be in their ability to connect with the children and use the child centred approach to make learning more stimulating and enjoyable."
If a child walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
"It’s hard to answer this question because it depends on what advice the child is asking for. I just think the advice should be positive, beneficial to the individual, balanced, be given with empathy and it should be realistic."
Describe the ideal teacher
"My ideal teacher follows the child centred approach and sees the unique child as the foundation to their pedagogy, not the curriculum. They are flexible and in tune with their students."
Can you tell us the 3 best places in the world where you would teach a class?
"I would choose the Caribbean because of the beautiful scenery and outdoor learning opportunities, such as farms and agricultural benefits.
I would love to teach in Asia. You know as a black man working in the Early Years, we are a niche so I would love to represent and give the children in, for example, Japan the experience of “being taught by a person that looks like me”.
Last, and not least, London because there’s no place like home and there is still a lot of changes that need to be made within our education system, especially when it comes to representation, so teaching in London would be my third location."
There are plenty of male students out there considering a career in teaching. What would you tell them?
"My advice to the up-and-coming male teachers and Early Years educators would be to read and follow the four principles of the EYFS, which is the foundation to all learning and all teaching. Focus on the unique child when teaching your students, build positive relationships and create enabling environments, then work on the learning and development side of things."
If you wish to connect with Jamel or learn more about his fantastic work, you can follow his social media channels here. Jamel has been working on The Early Years Black List, a website that has come about as a result of many conversations around the lack of Black voices within the Early Years community. If you would like to join the list and/or know other Black colleagues you would like to recommend, please email email@example.com.
Starting a career in childcare and education entails a number of factors to take into consideration, such as why you want to get into teaching, what inspires you to become a teacher and what qualities you can bring to the Early Years sector. If you are looking to start a career in education, or you would like to ask for advice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or see available vacancies from gender-inclusive employers.