Ageism in the other direction?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Mar 28, 2013.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Has anyone here experienced any type of ageism against younger folk in the field of education?

    I mean, yeah, I am young, I am inexperienced, etc. I get that. I don't care about ribbing because of my youth, other people getting benefits because they've had more experience with the district, etc.

    Also yeah, I know students are going to have exponentially less respect for me as a teacher because of my youth. Not only am I young, but I actually look 5 years younger than I really am! But I expect that of children, and I can deal with it and prove them dead wrong when they think they can treat me like their older brother instead of their teacher.

    My problem is parents and other teachers who are sometimes disrespectful or even downright rude to me, while they remain polite and respectful towards the older teachers. I always model politeness and respect towards older adults. But some parents I've dealt with felt that it was okay to bully me and talk down to me simply because I'm a young guy and they think they can get away with it.

    Today at a PD meeting we went to, there was a teacher sitting next to me. While we we doing the lab, etc. that was part of the activity, he talked to me in a very rude tone of voice like I didn't know what I was doing, questioned every step I took to see if I was doing the right thing, etc. I helped design that lab and they were using MY materials. I noticed he didn't talk that way to anybody but me and we had two other people in the group.

    I could be making a hullabaloo about nothing, but I think I've felt behavior towards me that I don't really appreciate, that wouldn't normally happen to someone who was older or at least appeared older.

    Has anyone who has entered teaching at a young age and looks young felt the same way?
     
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  3. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I started teaching at 22, but even now (24) I still get mistaken for anywhere around 16-18. However, I don't experience any rudeness or discrimination at my workplace. Sometimes my coworkers will mention it (ex: Have you ever seen "Beverly Hills Cop?" Oh, I always forget that you're too young for those movies!) But really, I've had a lot of positive responses for being young. My coworkers like having us "youngins" around because we have experience with the current teaching strategies, new technologies, etc.

    I think it's just a difference in workplace attitudes and coworker chemistry.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well I've had very little problem with my co-workers. They are all very respectful and actually have to work at getting me to call them by their first names. It's people who have never met me before meeting me for the first time I SOMETIMES have problems with. It's rare if at all. Most parents and teachers from outside my school are very supportive.

    But there are a few who just aren't aware of my personality and my capabilities who automatically assume the worst because of the way I look.
     
  5. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I think a lot of it is related to how one carries themselves (not talking in your case specifically). But there are young teachers who act or dress in a certain way (more provocatively)... and that can affect how people relate to you (not YOU).
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah, certainly. But as you said, I'm a guy, I can't really dress provocatively, and I just dress conservatively. But the way I carry myself probably has something to do with it. I'm a nerdy small young dude who looks fresh out of High School even though I'm 24.

    I don't really walk with a lot of swagger or confidence.
     
  7. BumbleB

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    I haven't had problems with parents, mainly because I have more education than like...all of them. I don't hold it above them or flaunt it, but I just work in a very low income district and many of the parents have not received education past high school. I think a lot of them like working with me because they like their child to have a younger adult role model.

    I do think that sometimes I lose credibility because I'm not a parent, but that just might be my own insecurities :haha:
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I was 22 teaching seniors, and I never had any issues, besides the assistant principal once thinking I was skipping class because I was in the hallway during class time. (That was my second year there, with a staff of maybe 40.)

    Even when I'm not confident, I can put on a good front of having it under control. I think that helps.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Respect is earned.
     
  10. comaba

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    Actually, I think respect should be the norm. Disrespect should be earned.
     
  11. Croissant

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    The teachers I work with dont have a problem with my young age. In fact, they often mention how easy it is to forget. Thi usually happens when they're talking about something from their past and realize I'm not contributing to the conversation! BUT I've often felt like the non-instructional staff have a problem with it and respect me less. I've also had the "well, you don't have kids" line thrown at me by parents, an I'm never really sure what to say to that.
     
  12. Poodle15

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    I totally agree. Every stranger (especially a teacher) deserves respect right off the bat. Lack of respect is earned by actions.

    Peregrin, I have a teacher who is a young guy. He's been teaching at my college for a couple of years and is (in my opinion) relatively competent. I say relatively because his attitude makes me want to grind my teeth. He DOES swagger but when he talks it's like one big brag, like he's trying to prove to us just how awesome he is because he doesn't truly think he is. It's difficult to explain but his personality grates on me. Confidence is one thing but swagger can appear pompous. I work with a young teacher who teaches at a middle school and he is just as you describe, "young, nerdy, appears fresh out of high school/college." I'll admit that I didn't give him much respect at first BUT it was because I didn't know he was a teacher. I thought he was a fellow tutor. I certainly wasn't rude, but I treated him as a peer. When I found out he not only was a teacher but was married and had 1 month old twins, my respect for him shot up. (I still think he's my age, late 20s, early 30s.)

    TL;DR (Too long; Didn't read): You may be right or you may be imagining it. The lab experience doesn't sound like you're imagining it, though. Also, don't be so quick to change the way you carry yourself unless you carry yourself like a nonchalant high schooler! ;)
     
  13. OhThePlaces

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    I totally agree.
     
  14. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that people could be treating you like you've described for any number of reasons, not necessarily just because of your age. Some people are just rude.
     
  15. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It could certainly be that as well. The only reason I bring it up is because they tend to not be rude when interacting with the other teachers or other older people.
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It could be that they know those people. Or it could be the way you present yourself (I don't know you well enough to know if that could be the case) in terms of confidence, content knowledge, or something else. Or yes, it could be related to your age.

    Sometimes this sort of thing happens to me--not necessarily in a school setting but elsewhere. Most of the time to me it feels like it's based on my gender. It irritates me.
     
  17. comaba

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    It's very possible that they know the other people if they've been in the same district for years.

    I hope you somehow let the gentleman :rolleyes: know that you were on the team that developed the lab.


    (Somehow, that emoticon looks too happy to be sarcasm.:dizzy:)
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

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    When I first started teaching, I got sooooo tired of people telling me how young I looked. I had people walk into my room and ask, "Umm...are you the teacher?" After two weeks of that, I decided I'd start wearing a shirt, tie, and slacks every day. Eight years later, I still dress the same way, but now I look more mature, so no one ever asks if I'm the teacher!

    Anyway, even when I wear jeans and a school t-shirt on Fridays, I think the way I carry myself speaks volumes. I don't try to be a know-it-all and I don't say a whole lot during meetings. However, when I do say something, it has substance and I speak confidently. I'm in my early 30s now and definitely have less experience than others, but I feel like I know exactly what I'm doing and it comes across in how I speak (and most importantly--through my actions).

    To date, I've taught at three different sites. Each site has a few rude people, so I try not to take it personally.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well in this case, the teacher I worked with at the PD was a new teacher as well, at a different school than the ones who were in our group, and they didn't seem familiar. He wasn't friendly with them, but he wasn't giving them the same tone he was giving me. Maybe it's because I'm a guy... Who knows, as you said, it could be any number of things. And it irritates me too.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I always wear a formal shirt, slacks, and nice shoes as well. I forgo the tie usually because it gives me problems breathing and talking, and I get fussy about it. I replace it with a stop watch. I think my dress looks teacher-y, but I just look like a dressed up 18 year old. >__>
     
  21. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Awww...trust me, Peregrin--in a few years, you're going to be glad you still look so young! :hugs:
     
  22. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aw I'm sorry. He should not have been rude with you and you have every right to be upset. Whatever his reason, age or otherwise, he should treat you with respect. You are a fellow teacher at the same school, afterall.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Well, different schools, same district. I never met him before today, and I'm not too worried about it, but I am concerned with a pattern I've been seeing. He began being polite after I came out of my shell a bit, and began taking charge preemptively before he could begin double checking me.

    But thanks Tami! :hugs:

    I think it's just because he assumed: "new teacher; he probably doesn't know anything about how to conduct science labs or use science equipment, I'm going to have to check everything he does". The only issue is that it's a lot easier to see that I am a new teacher because of my age, while older new teachers like him are harder to distinguish. At the very least it gives me a drive to prove myself.
     
  24. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I struggled with that when I first started teaching. Like you, I looked 16 tops. I had a lot of trouble finding/affording work clothes that didn't make me look like a grandma/provocative. I also had a deer-in-headlights look permanently etched on my face my first year. And so I'd get a lot of flack.

    But it is an issue that time will cure. And I still occasionally get people who think this is my 1st or 2nd year teaching before they actually talk to me. But I'd ignore people who patronize you about how old you appear. Just keep calm and let your classroom skills do all the talking.
     
  25. iheartscience

    iheartscience Rookie

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    I've been told that I look older than I am and I've had the same thing with other teachers commenting that they'd forgotten how much younger I was when I didn't get references, etc so it hasn't been a huge problem, but there is one teacher that says condescending things about my age all the time. I was talking to another teacher about a long term lab that my students were setting up and starting to conduct and this other teacher jumped into our conversation saying something like "You know, in a few years you're going to give up on teaching through this inquiry s*** and just go back to lecturing like everyone else." Oi. She's not coming back next year, thankfully.

    I'm not too concerned about comments like that. My students are doing well in my classes, their standardized test scores are higher than they've ever been in my subject area without doing any formal test prep, and my other coworkers, students, and parents respect me and my teaching methods. That's way more important to me than a single grumpy older teacher.
     
  26. Ms.SLS

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    I've had that problem. I've had teachers comment (in staff meetings) that I must be too young to know roman numerals (what??), I had a (horrible) principal call me "sweetie," I've had a teacher tell me I didn't know what I was doing because I was young.

    Some people are just rude. I've found the best retort is to "politely" inform them of their "mistake." Most of them are very surprised to be called out on their lack of manners.
     
  27. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I'm used to being talked to like I am young, and I don't really mind that because I am the only 20 something in a school full of 40 plussers. (most of my team that I work with is actually around 60+). The principal has a running gag thing going with me about how she needs to feed me because I'm the same age as her son and she has Italian blood in her that requires her to over-feed skinny youngsters.

    It's when they begin assuming that I don't have content knowledge and scientific experience that it begins to get to me. Or they assume that I'm having a horrible time because a young first year teacher. Luckily I've never got any of this treatment from any of my immediate colleagues! I love our staff. Yes. There are times where I want to pull my hair out due to student behavior or parent behavior, but my first year has not compared even close to the horror stories I've heard of other first years from other teachers. Yes, I'm treading water, and I'm exhausted, but I haven't drowned, and I'd like to think that that is probably due to my capabilities.

    @iheartscience: That's horrible! I don't think that teacher will be a teacher for very long.
     
  28. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    Wow someone who believes the same way as I do!
     
  29. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I am the young teacher on the block as well. I don't find I'm discriminated against in any way, but I did find it kind of funny at the beginning of the school year, we were doing a staff icebreaker event at our first staff meeting... it involved theme songs from television shows (we had to name the television show.) They were all mocking me because I couldn't get one of them (I figured it out later, but I couldn't place it at the time...) They all thought it was great that I couldn't get some of the older ones (Apparently they don't realize that with reruns, I'm pretty good at matching songs to their tv shows.)

    Then the theme song to a very random teen show that my younger sister used to watch came on. They all looked around in stunned silence, and I just got up and laughed at them... my youth served me well that day. (BTW, in the end the oldest teacher and I tied for the most points.)
     
  30. Jerseygirlteach

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    You had a post awhile back (a reply to one of my threads) where you said something like you call teachers that you work with "ma'am" even though they ask you not to because it makes them feel old. You argued that they are, in fact, "old" and that they should accept that so you felt justified in continuing to call them "ma'am" despite their preference. This might give you some insight as to why you might not have their full respect. Also, is it possible that them not respecting you isn't just your perception? From the tone of that post, it seemed as though age was very big issue for you and maybe it is you that has an age bias and not them. Just food for thought.

    Sorry for my candor. I mean no disrespect to you. I'm just giving you my honest feedback.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    No problem. As I stated before, I do have my colleagues full respect. The only people who I sometimes feel are prejudging are people who I've just met and who know nothing about me. And these people haven't asked me to refer to them in any manner. (Although I always do so with respect).

    Besides, I do my best to call them (my colleagues--who again I stress are not the ones who are making feel this way) how they wish to be called, but it's difficult to break the habit of referring to them with respect. It is simply the way I was brought up. As I become more familiar with them I am learning to call other teachers by their first names. Anyway, we generally like to call each other Mr. and Mrs. in front of students anyway.

    And yes, it is VERY possible that it is simply my perception. I've stated that multiple times already, in fact. But I just keep getting this itching feeling that it has to do with my age. *shrug* It's just an annoyance and a guess, and I was just wondering if anyone felt the same way.
     
  32. Mathemagician

    Mathemagician Groupie

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    There was a young man named Michael Peregrin,

    He made friends with all the youngerin's

    Hair fell out and then grew in agin',

    Poor young Michael Peregrin

    Begin agin'!

    Classroom management was his favorite thin'

    Ppppppp-ppppp-eregrin, peregrin.
     
  33. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :spitwater::lol:
     
  34. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    I taught for 35 years I remember being the new "Kid on the block."
    I also remember rolling my eyes at a newbies, with stars in their eyes, just out of college, making a first impression. It kind of becomes "Been there, done that, own the tee-shirt.
    I have found that many young teacher (myself included when I was young @ 22 :dizzy: ) are like wild stallions (no, not Bill & Ted) and sometimes need a guiding hand :thumb:, a Mentor is need to help new teachers AND new teachers need to listen to Veteran teachers
    AND
    Veteran teachers should give a listen to what is coming out of the universities which our new teachers carry with them.
    Both "sides" need to listen and respect each other

    One of my last years teaching I was "Mentoring" 2 new teachers (twins) who were just TOO full of themselves to take any mentoring, they were emergency certified (not graduated and short of hours) but they "knew" the superintendent. You could tell they were new just you couldn't tell them much :woot:
    But these stories are few and far between.

    Most new/old interactions I have seen are professional and enriching. :2cents:
     
  35. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I look about 12 and I am 31. On days that we can wear our school sweatshirt there would be no way to tell me from the students. I have many parents and other people treat me differently because of it. I don't think they always know they are being disrespectful. I just make it a point to show them that I know what I am doing. It takes awhile and it stinks but that is just how it is when you look young.

    My husband actually told me today that the older I get the younger I look. :lol:
     
  36. Miss84

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    Yes, most parents think I'm fresh out of college and when they realize I've been doing this for a while w/ a M.Ed they tend to back off! lol
     
  37. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I love the veteran teachers at my school, and I seek mentorship constantly. I HUGELY respect the teachers at my school because they are AMAZING teachers. I am so lucky I have a chance to work at this school and I hope I can remain here next year. It's too bad that the parents don't want their kids in our school because we don't have enough electives and the class sizes are large, and we have students from impoverished communities. Because the parents are pulling their kids, I may not have a chance to work here next year because I'm lowest on seniority.
     
  38. Irishdave

    Irishdave Enthusiast

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    A husband who knows style, no dog house for him
     
  39. mkbren88

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    I've never been looked down upon for being younger (I am 27, started teaching at 23) but I constantly reminded that I am much younger than many of my coworkers. After fall break, I cut and dyed my hair darker and one teacher (who was a LTS) asked me who I was. She then thought I was a HS student ha

    My first year teaching, I had one parent who constantly told me that since I didn't have kids, I just didn't "understand". That stung more than any comment I've ever received due to age.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That sentiment is present in teaching no matter how old you are. Many people here on this forum share it, too.
     
  41. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes. And it's amazing that people will judge you for not having kids not knowing why you don't. That's very painful for those who want children...it's why women and men who can't conceive feel "less than".
     

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