Age Discrimination is Real - but can't prove it

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by MsGBakes, Apr 19, 2014.

  1. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    I know that many people become teachers later in life and will say how they never experienced age discrimination. I have to say that you are the lucky ones, because your age does become a factor in whether or not you even receive an interview. I began my training to become a teacher seven years ago, when I was still considered "young". I had to get a second degree in my subject area and student teach in order to become certified...no one would hire me "alternate route". I also spent two years on getting a graduate degree. I was told that I won't be rehired because of enrollment..however, the other teacher who just finished school and is still very young will be returning. There are positions available that I am qualified to teach, but they want someone new. All of my evaluations were good and there was no obvious reason to fire me. I also found out after it was too late to refuse the offer, that my job was initially offered to two very young teachers and they turned it down. I believe that they never planned on keeping me, and just hired me for the year because they needed someone right away for the job.

    I am no where near retirement and am at the bottom of the salary guide, so it's not like I am expensive to hire, so I really believe that my age is preventing me from being hired. I also have degrees in very high demand areas, so it's not like there are many candidates out there to choose from.

    I know that I am losing my job and unfortunately my health insurance. I have sent out resumes, been on other interviews and have heard nothing. I have to hear the admins and teachers in my soon to be former district talk about candidates for next year. I hear them talking and they say that "Anyone over the age of 35 way too old"...however, the 22 year olds, are "amazing" "best teacher ever" "that lesson was awesome!!" I also overheard an admin saying to only hire people who were born during a certain decade. I'm sorry that I can't age backwards. Gee, I wish I had enough money and health care to retire, since it looks like I will be unemployed forever.

    Anyone else experience this kind of treatment as an older NEW teacher?
     
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  3. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I am still under 30, but I agree that many districts (at least mine) want to hire younger people.

    My district has also made it explicitly clear that they want to hire younger first-year Ps and APs who are in their early to mid-30s. This means having to hire younger staff members.
     
  4. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    You actually heard admin say that they only hire people of a certain age?

    I'd say a call to your union and/or a lawyer would be in order. That doesn't sound suspect; that sounds like evidence.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    :yeahthat:
     
  6. ktmiller222

    ktmiller222 Cohort

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    Yeah, I would def hire a lawyer. They can easily obtain records on the people that have been hired there within the last few years. If they are all young, then it would be an easy case to prove.
     
  7. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Coming from a career-changer:

    I think that as an older new teacher one has to seem experienced even when not. There may also be a subconscious preconception that an older teacher is less trainable and more set in their ways. An older teacher, even when new, is perceived as seasoned ... thus when problems arise, they may be perceived as habitual rather than due to being inexperienced.

    With that in mind, you have to start out running with pretty good handle on classroom management (or at least the attitude that you are actively trying interventions to solve management issues). You have to be able to fit into school culture with ease and find ways to bring your real world experience into play quickly. You've probably gained valuable experience in these areas over the past year, so will have a better experience at your next position. Just think of this first year as an internship, keep a positive attitude, and forge forward with your dream.
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I agree with the previous posters. Call your union/organization. Do you have bad evaluations? When you're probationary, they don't have to give you a reason for non renewal, but it wouldn't hurt to ask for specifics why you aren't being allowed back.

    When you hear admin saying these things again, interrupt and talk yourself up. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    And if that doesn't work, keep applying. I was hired with about twenty years experience and am the youngest on my team at 42.
     
  9. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    Your district made it explicitly clear? They could be sued for saying something like that. No one said anything about this to the union?
     
  10. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    All of my evals were ok. Unfortunately I can't prove what I heard, it would simply be my word against theirs.These admins gave me a reason for my non-renewal and as a new, non-tenured teacher I don't have any recourse. Even some of the older teachers who are close to retirement believe I was non-renewed because of my age. I thought schools wanted dedicated, serious, and good teachers, I didn't know I was trying out to be a Hollywood starlet.
     
  11. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    OP, you don't need to convince me that age discrimination is alive and very well in education. I went back to school for my degree and credential when I was 46. I graduated just a few months shy of my 50th birthday, and began interviewing for teaching positions the summer I actually turned 50.

    It was very, very disheartening to watch my former classmates get hired. I had been in class with them, had shared the same cooperating school with a few of them. I knew them. And I knew that my grades had been better and my professional year had gone better. I never got less than an "A" in my Ed. classes and my evaluations as a student teacher never included anything less than "Exceeds Expectations". And yet, I was passed up over and over again. The jobs went to the young lady who spent the last year on academic probation. The jobs went to the woman who had to be moved from her first cooperating school because she was so difficult to get along with. The list is endless.

    I took a part-time para position last August and in the past eight months I have run into several of my "older" classmates who are at my school subbing. None of us over the age of 40 got hired as a teacher. We found work as subs. We found work as paraprofessionals. But not one of us got hired as a teacher.

    We were all every bit as qualified as our younger classmates. In many cases, we were more qualified, since many of us had endorsement areas and we all had related work experience.

    Nobody will ever be able to convince me that it isn't due to age discrimination.
    Sheilah
     
  12. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    I'm sorry for those that have had this happen to them as well. I can't go back to subbing again. I subbed while I was going back to school and it's just not worth it. The money is nothing, and there is no insurance. I guess if I do get hired again, it'll only be because no one else wants the job, then I'll be on the chopping block again.

    No wonder why education in schools is failing, the schools are being run by people who have hardly any knowledge or experience at their jobs or in life. I guess I'm so frustrated and really upset that I am going to be unemployed once again, after I worked so hard this year and spent hours of my own time trying to create good lessons.
     
  13. mathteachertobe

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    I was getting invitations to join AARP before I even started my credential program. I've mentioned it before, but I had a lot of interviews before ending up with my current position, and I'm pretty sure my age was an issue. I am credentialed in high need areas, but I still feel fortunate every day to have landed where I have. My current principal is a lot younger than I am, but we get along great, so don't give up on a school just because the principal is young. Maturity and level-headedness are great attributes. The first couple of years are very hard, I think the worry is older people, who have additional skill sets, may walk away when things get tough. In interviews, make sure you tell a story that demonstrates your resilience. Also make sure to give evidence of flexibility and willingness to adapt in some way. Remove obvious age giveaways from your resume. I know that at one point, interview number 20 or so, I was really struggling to seem at all excited, because the rejections were so, so demoralizing. Best of luck to all older new teachers on the job hunt!
     
  14. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    What I don't understand is how they seem to know your age? I mean granted people look within certain age range but it's not like they would know on based on your résumé off the bat.

    I don't generally look my age people who don't know me have guessed roughly 5-10 years younger than I am. Either way nobody has asked how old I was at an interview.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I've sat in on panels for several positions at my school, and I have sat in on interviews for career changers who were new to the profession. Please know that what I'm going to say refers only to my own experience. I'm not trying to say this is definitely what's happening.

    From my experience, career changers tend to come in to interviews talking about how they'd be a good fit because of their past careers. Young teachers come in to interviews talking about their student teaching, and what they learned about in college. When I'm sitting on a panel, I want to hear about the classroom, and what someone will be like as a teacher. I'm sure the career changer I interviewed last May was a fabulous lawyer, but I wanted to hear him talk about himself as a teacher, and that just wasn't there.

    This doesn't describe all the older candidates I've interviewed, but some of them also have a tendency to come off condescending towards me. Yes, I'm fairly young, and yes I look five years younger than I actually am... but I'm still a professional, and my principal asked me to be on a panel for a reason, so take that "what are YOU doing here?" look off your face when I introduce myself.

    Again, I'm not saying you're doing either of these things. I'm just sharing my experiences being on the other side of an interview. I don't doubt that there can be a bit of age discrimination in place, too. I think there's a perception that young candidates are going to have more energy, and will be more "moldable" to a school's vision. Neither of these are fair assumptions (unless they come across in the interview, that is), and I consciously try to make sure I'm not applying either of these assumptions to a candidate, young or old, unless I have a reason to do so.
     
  16. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    I took ALL of the education courses required of any new teacher. I also performed student teaching. I worked very hard and paid out of my own pocket, to obtain my degrees and certifications while I was involuntarily unemployed. I don't even want to talk about my previous career. I have also eliminated it from my resume. I am not an arrogant person and try my best on interviews.

    I hated my past career and know it has nothing to do with my being a good teacher. I also don't look like I am headed for the senior living facility either. Most of the students I was in school with thought I was in my mid/late twenties like them. I am also in great shape and don't wear clothes like my dear grandmas would. I do know that I am tired of hunting for a job at this age, I really hoped I was at the school where I would stay and get tenure, but it wasn't meant to be.
     
  17. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Isn't it possible that you just weren't a good fit? That happens sometimes through no one's fault. After all, you were already miserable in November. If you unhappiness was apparent, then I can understand the nonrenewal.
     
  18. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    I don't doubt it. They probably, wrongly, assume that because you're older you won't relate to the kids as well. Sexism, heightism, ageism... it all comes into play. I'm female, 5'0/100 lbs, and 26. I took a substitute teaching course to get a pay bump (funny that a certified teacher has to do that, huh?) and the older gentleman who was teaching the class actually sat down beside me during our lunch break and said: Can I ask you something? How do I ask this without... I don't want to sound sexist... but...? I was nice enough to stop him there since I knew he was trying to ask if I have classroom management issues because of my physical stature. I really don't. I have more issues with other adults treating me like a child than I do with students challenging me. But every job you don't land makes you wonder because, at least in my case, I'm used to it outside the school environment. It works both ways. They probably look at me and fear I'll relate too much to my students.
     
  19. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    You would be miserable too if you had parents threatening to sue you and demanding you be fired because their kid wasn't being handed an "A", but actually had to earn it.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I hate to say it, but....get used to it. This is how things are in many (of course not all) schools these days.
     
  21. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Yes, of course I would.

    My point being that you've been unhappy all year with many aspects of the school/job. It seems this wasn't the best place for you, not a good fit. It happens.

    I understand how you feel. I've been there. But instead of spending so much energy on this negative experience, spend it on planning your next move. It will pay off.
     
  22. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    Alrighty then.
     
  23. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    No, they have not said the words. But, my Union rep is taking courses to get his Admin cert. and he has told me that the district is trying to recruit/get younger people to begin the Admin cert. process. Once they have about 6 to 8 years in the district, they want to start them on the Admin trajectory. Furthermore, most of the Ps/APs being hired here are in their 30s and I have heard our Interim CEO talk about getting younger Ps/APs who can relate to our kids and our district's demographics.
     
  24. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    Very early on, a veteran math teacher at my school told me, "Just pass them." And as a first year teacher who has heard rumors that first-year teachers (or really non-tenured teachers) in the district better not have ANY failing students, I have my hands tied.
     
  25. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, the students have to be passed on with limited skills until they reach a tenured teacher who can keep them back where they need to be? Not a good system, I feel bad for teachers like you who are put in that position.
     
  26. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    :confused: This whole thread just puts a bad taste in my mouth.

    Maybe I've got my rose-colored glasses on again, and maybe I'm just lucky, but I just don't see this phenomena. The best candidate is hired. End of discussion.

    I guess I just don't see the point of, in one breath, stating how age discrimination exists, then in the next breath stating how schools today are being run by idiots who don't know what they are doing. Young idiots.
     
  27. bitou2010

    bitou2010 Rookie

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    At the end of day the best candidate is picked. Principals have their interests and pick candidates based on that. I'm sorry but you just have to wake up every morning and give your best. It always pays up when you are positive..... Patience always pays up.
     
  28. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    As someone who is 25...it goes the other way too. Trust me.
     
  29. RedStripey

    RedStripey Comrade

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    Same!!!
     
  30. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    I will always believe that my age as a new teacher is against me. I just found out that a job I applied for was given to a brand new college graduate with no job experience as a teacher...the new teacher is 25
     
  31. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    I was hired when I was 45. Two of our new teachers this year are mid-40s. Another two are mid-30s. In the past 5 years that I've been with this school, more than half of new hires have been in the 35+ range.

    I'm sure it varies by district, but I suspect there are often more factors in play.

    We've also had several new teachers hired right out of school who just happened to be related to administrators, board members, and admin/board members of other districts.

    Never discount nepotism.
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I always feel very much in the minority and like a meanie during these discussions. Yes, anyone could leave a school or profession or this planet at any time, but I understand schools being more attracted to hiring someone who is more likely to remain part of the school family for many years opposed to someone who may not put in twenty-seven years to the profession or whatever is required in any given state.
     
  33. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    There are requirements for how long a teacher must work? Do you mean for pensions?
     
  34. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    Never. If I knew how big of a role nepotism played in getting a teaching job, I would have stayed on the west coast where my father worked as a school safety officer! It might have helped. Instead, I moved across country. It also doesn't help I'm in a very rural area of the northeast. I'm in a small town where everyone has known their best friend since kindergarten, married their high school girlfriend, and hang out with their cousins on the weekend.

    I didn't interview well my first time, but it didn't matter because I lost out to a local guy with coaching experience who also just happened to be best friends with the head of school's son. Another position opened up at the school again this year and I reapplied thinking I could wow them in an interview this go-around. They hired another guy. This time he was the son of a teacher at the nearby school where I had been substituting at. He's younger than me with no experience (though he also graduated summa cum laude) but they know his mom so...

    I moved here five years ago for college. Unfortunately, I can't compete with sons, nieces, cousins, children of old friends, etc. That's okay. Hopefully, I'll get a few interviews in the larger cities where my "being from away" doesn't matter so much. If I don't, I'll move again.
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, of course that's what I meant.
     
  36. MsGBakes

    MsGBakes Rookie

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    With the cost of living and the depletion of my savings, I will be working until I'm 75. In my state, a pension won't even be available when I reach the age of retirement.

    A younger teacher gets married, takes maternity leaves for kids, has to run out when the kid gets sick...at least with an older person you don't have those issues. I'm pretty much giving up on the job search. There is a limited supply of jobs with my certs. and I can't compete with a 24 year old, despite my accomplishments.

    I'm going to apply for management positions that the local fast food restaurants...maybe I am still young enough to make sandwiches for a living. At least I'll have insurance again.
     
  37. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    At the end of the day, only ONE person gets the job. Even if there are only two people interviewing.... there will always be at least one other person left feeling devastated and completely rejected. That's just the way it is.

    I agree with a few posters who said it's all about the right fit. I think it is 100% reasonable to look favorably upon a candidate that has coaching experience if the school needs a coach (if the person is a solid applicant regardless).

    Also... imagine this: Two people who are exactly the same on paper apply for a position. Their interviews are nearly identical. Both will be superb teachers. One is an old family friend. Who are you going to hire?

    I don't mean to sound rude but it seems like people think the system is unfair when they don't get interviews even though they know everyone in the school and all of the teachers are rooting for them.... but then also think it is unfair when someone gets hired because they know someone. Young teachers say it's difficult to get positions because they want someone with more experience, older teachers say they are viewed unfairly, etc. The grass is always greener....

    I'm not trying to be mean, just realistic.
     
  38. comaba

    comaba Cohort

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    I agree with all this ^, except the part about people thinking the system is unfair. Only a very small number have implied or said that the system is unfair. Most just acknowledge the many factors that affect hiring, or lament their lack of success in finding a job.

    And, the post wasn't mean. :)
     
  39. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I started teaching (not counting subbing) when I was 35, so I'm planning on staying put for as long as I can. Fortunately, the principal who hired me LOVED that I had a decade of non-teaching experience to share with my students.
     
  40. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    What about age+gender discrimination? There are 4 groups. "Younger-Male", "Older-Male", "Younger-Female", and "Older-Female." Honestly, I think the "Older-Female" group would be discriminated against more because that just happens in many other places besides education. I belong in the "Older-Male" group so I always feel fortunate to have landed a full-time position. Did it help that I teach math? Probably, but admins could always have looked for others (younger and cheaper) and I would have understood. :2cents:
     
  41. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I guess I've been lucky. I got my first contract teaching job when I was 41, after starting my career in tiny independent schools and then being at home for 10 years with my kids. I have never felt unable to relate to or connect with my students and I do try to keep up with books, music and movies they are interested in. My current staff is very diverse, age-wise. I'm near the top end, and am probably old enough to be the parent of some of our brand-new teachers, but never feel as though I'm too old to be useful.
     

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