By Yolanda McNary
An alumnus of Western Michigan University, Jack Geromin, 26, is an early childhood specialist at the Children’s Place Learning Center of WMU. Waiting outside in his casual attire, he is greeted by his children with a rush of excitement and hugs. “To know that I mean that much to them keeps me motivated,” he says.
The preschool educator, inspired by his fifth grade male teacher, developed a passion for teaching children. He says most people are surprised when they find out his line of work because it is primarily a woman’s profession: “I feel like a unicorn when participating in educational conventions because I am usually the only male.”
After the parents fade from the drop-off line, Geromin and the children walk down the stairs, passing multiple mural paintings of cartoon characters. One task for Geromin to tackle is helping the children maintain their cool by distracting them from the thought of their parents.
The kids lingering sniffles from the emotions of being left at school by their parents are replaced with laughter due to excitement provided by Geromin. “I sometimes become “Fireman Jeff”, and the kids love it! I joke with my friends that the hardest part of my day is portraying a fireman to calm the children.”
Although everything appears to be all fun and games at the center, it is a very serious place. The curriculum is expected to be followed. Geromin tries to ensure the children are challenged and meeting educational expectations.