Man in charge: Cape elementary sees first male teacher in 10 years

Man in charge: Cape elementary sees first male teacher in 10 years
By:Kathy Sweeney

What's so unusual about putting a man in charge?  At Alma Schrader Elementary in Cape Girardeau, it's so unusual--Shawn Brooks really stands out.  The fourth grade teacher is the only man heading up a classroom at the school, and the first male teacher Schrader's had in 10 years.
It was all about conductors and insulators in Mr. Brooks' class Wednesday, but the  seventh year educator knows his presence brings much more than a science lesson.
"I never had a male teacher and I always wanted one", Brooks says.  "It's nice to have a male figure in your life."
It's not only nice, research shows many boys learn better when they're taught by men. 
 "So, it's so wonderful to have that male influence here, especially in the fourth grade because they're at such a crucial point in their life", Alma Schrader principal Ruth Ann Orr points out.
When Emily Holman found out she was going to have a male teacher, she had a very important question for her mom.  "Is he going to be mean?"  Emily now calls Mr. Brooks "a real cool teacher".  Classmate Ryan Helle adds, "he's one of the best teachers I've ever had."
But, don't tell Shawn Brooks he's special, or that being a man makes him a better teacher. He feels a great teacher is just that, great.   And while he's not sure why he's one of the few men teaching kids this age, he knows why he'll keep doing it.
"It's fun, it's exciting, every day is a new day."