Am I too old?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Janjan1981, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. Janjan1981

    Janjan1981 Rookie

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    Hi everyone...I started my bachelor's degree about 15 years ago and got to 93 credits before I stopped. Life and a divorce (and my flakiness at that age)got in the way. Fast forward and I am now 34 years old, remarried with three kids. I was working in IT making excellent money but I just wasn't happy, and traveling 75% of the time was taking a huge toll on my family and my own mental health. So, with my husband's support, I tendered my resignation and have decided to go back to school full time.

    Today I told my best friend and she asked, "Okay, so what are you going to do with a degree in Elementary Education?" I looked at her like she had grown a second head and said, "Ummm...teach?!" And she laughed. "You're way too old to be a teacher. Seriously, all the teachers in my daughter's school are like 25, you're 10 years older. I can't even imagine."

    I was indignant and pissed off. First of all, I'm not too old. Second of all, her daughter just started kindergarten, while i have a high schooler, a middle schooler, and a kindergartner myself...and my kids' BEST teachers have been in their 40s-50s.

    But of course, doubt creeps in. How will parents feel if they see someone in their mid-30s-early 40s teaching their first grader? Can I or should I even do this? My husband wants to shoot me for having these doubts but I can't control it, it's been a long time.

    Edited to remove possibly offensive term.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    If you think 34 equates with being seen as an old geezer teaching a first grader, well, I'm somewhat offended. I think you should listen to your husband and maybe reconsider calling anyone, at any age, an old geezer. I am an active teacher and my son is only a couple of years younger than you. You can be mentally old and decrepit at any age, or a life-long learner where age is just a number. Please keep that in mind over the next few decades.
     
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  4. Janjan1981

    Janjan1981 Rookie

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    No I was being 100% sarcastic!!! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend.
     
  5. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    34 is not old. I will be 34 in a month! The only time I've seen parents upset about the age, is when the teacher is pushing 70 and should have retired 10 years earlier. You'll be fine!
     
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  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Well, as long as I am not an old geezer, finish your degree, follow your heart, and just be smart about your choices. For instance, maybe you will want to acquire your TOSD - SPED helps get jobs, as would becoming a reading specialist. Those things might take a little longer to acquire, but make your job search much easier.

    I appreciated your edit to the original post to remove old geezer. Ageism is insidious and it often goes ignored. I do believe you had no real intention to offend, hence my second post.

    I wish you well, and agree with others - it is never too late to become a teacher if that is where your heart wants to take you. :hugs:
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
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  7. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    I just finished my first year as a teacher at 38. You're not too old. If you're a good teacher, no one will care.
     
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  8. christie

    christie Rookie

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    I was 30 when I started teaching. You'll come into the position with more life experience than most first year teachers and that's not a bad thing. Being a parent will also weigh in your favor during those first years because you have experience dealing with children all day.

    Don't let someone tell you you're too old. We have young teachers in K/1 and we have older teachers in K/1 - each brings something different to the team. If that's where you want to teach, then do it. I'd make only one suggestion. When the school places you for practicums and student teaching, do your best to go into a wide variety of grades. I was SO SURE I wanted to teach K-1 that all of my practicum and student teaching was in first grade. As I was finishing student teaching, I started observing in different grades and fell in love with the older kids. I taught upper elementary for more than 10 years before going back to my lower elementary roots.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Many of the teachers I know didn't begin teaching until their late thirties or early forties.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I've known teachers who began in the 40s and 50s.
     
  11. Janjan1981

    Janjan1981 Rookie

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    thank you so much everyone, I think I'm getting my confidence back!
     
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  12. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    I started my education degree at 35.
     
  13. ABC123

    ABC123 Companion

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    Nooooo! The 1st grade teacher I worked with this year is-----------------62 years old. She began teaching 20 yrs ago after her divorce. Just saying.


    I want to add, she was energetic, always moving (loves to dance) and smiling everyday AND one of the best teachers I have ever worked with and I have worked with many!!!!!
     
  14. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    I started my credential program after 50.
     
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  15. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Your students, IF they ever think about it, will think you are ancient. It doesn't matter if you are 20 or 60. You are over 19: ancient. This is true K-12. (I work secondary) I was over 40 when I started teaching full time. It really doesn't matter. Congratulations to you for working toward this! Yes, we are ancient. So what. I am no longer in my 40's. And in ten years I will think of my current age as young(er). I doubt my students think about my age much, let alone think about me much. They occasionally ask me and then they don't believe me. It's not because I look young or old, it's because at their age they have no clue what my age is supposed to look like. Over 19? Ancient.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Age is nothing. I have been teaching for over 40 years and still going strong!
     
  17. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I started college when I was 32. I got this job when I was 39, now I'm 42. Definitely not old. You have so much advantage over a 20 some year old, all kinds of life experiences, job experiences, you are a parent, etc. So much better than a clueless 20 some year old. Not saying they're all clueless but you know what I mean. You should have all the confidence in the world.
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I started teaching at 23. If I knew then what I know now (I was incredibly naive and not very street smart), I'd have life experiences that would've made me an even better teacher.

    That being said, I know strong teachers in their 20s and strong teachers in their 60s.

    "Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." ~Mark Twain
     
  19. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Oh my....no your friend is off base. I'd say that 34 is still under median age for a teacher.
     
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  20. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I started teaching at 48.
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My SIL got her certificate at age 50. I started teaching when I was 44.
     
  22. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I was 36 when I started my first full-time teaching job. My mother was 48.
     
  23. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Well, the edited post is now phrased better. In the original, I did not feel that the term old geezer was appropriate. If it doesn't offend you, so be it. I think the edited post addresses the OP concerns without ageism creeping in, even if unintended.
     
  24. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I worked on my bachelors from age 34-39 with two children in tow as a single parent. Got my first job at 39 and earned my masters 5 years ago. I'm in my mid 50s now. All is well. Life experience speaks volumes in interviews. Parents assume I've been teaching 30 years...it's only been 15. My secret!
     
  25. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    My buddy (now in his 70s) went in the Navy at 17. Retired after 20 years, Graduated from college at 41 and began teaching kindergarten and continued well into his 60s. He taught two of my kids and parents loved him. We just hired a lady who interned for us. She was 30 while interning and the best one we have had in years. I think being a little older before teaching has many benefits. Maturity and life experience. I sort of learned as I went my first few years. I have taught 38 years and age is not important as long as you love it and want to do it and kids respond well to you.
     
  26. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    OP, I went back to school in my late 40's and started teaching at 51. A lady I met while in school (and who became a good friend) just started teaching (in roadless Alaska) at the age of 54.

    You are still a youngling! And even if you weren't, so what? Take a deep breath and do it!
     
  27. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Groupie

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    What! No. I'm 28 and I'm one of the youngest.
    Most of my coworkers at the schools i worked at are in their 40s-50s
     
  28. elemsped

    elemsped New Member

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    I started my first teaching job at 41. I met 2 women in my program roughly my age and we are all employed in the same district. Being a parent also helps bring in some experience and perspective.

    WindyCity-I feel the same way. Most people assume I have way more experience so that's a nice perk.
     
  29. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Same here! Your students will assume the same too. Not that it's bad for them to know that you started later in life than some - I talked about this with my kids and they actually thought it was pretty cool - but if you don't tell them you're a new teacher, they'll just assume you've been around the block.
     
  30. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Are you too old to follow your dream? Well, how old will you be in a few years if you DON'T follow your dream? Don't be silly, girl. Go for it.
     
  31. Beachcomber

    Beachcomber Guest

    Jul 5, 2016

    I'm 50 and just earned my credential to teach secondary. I got my BA right after HS, a long time ago. I didn't really think anything about my age until I started the credential classes , and almost all of the students were young- 20's. I don't think of myself as "old"- having had my children in my late 30's/early 40's probably helps, and I don't look my age. I'm applying for my first teaching job now, and I have wondered if my age is a disadvantage since I haven't been hired yet, but if I were doing the hiring, I would think of it as an asset- life experience, etc. One principle said being a parent is helpful. Of course, he also referred to me as a "middle-aged" woman- ouch! In any case, go for it, and don't let your age concern you- I'm not!
     
  32. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    This is so true lol. I got called old by 4th graders when I was a junior in college (so... 21?) I've gotten age guesses from students everywhere from 16 to 100.
    34 is not old at all, and definitely not too old to start teaching!
     
  33. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I can't find words to express what I think here. Unfortunately, this forum lacks a poop emoji of bovine origin, so I will have to try.

    This is the dumbest thing I've read since last Thursday. I've taught primary grades for the last 15 years, and the BEST teacher's I've known have been over 40. Some over 50.



    I started teaching when I was 32. I moved to first grade just short of my 40th birthday. Taught primary grades well into my 50's. Parents loved me. At least that's what they said. Granted, I'm looking to move on now, but it has nothing to do with my age.

    Here is the Absolute Truth Based on Reality as Experienced by People Who Actually Live in the World: If parents want any "characteristic" in their kid's teacher, it would be that they want a grownup teaching their kids. Your big advantage (and this is a BIG advantage) is that parents will see themselves in you. You are raising three kids. You have been a single parent. That's street cred that no 25 year old can even dream of having.

    This will be an advantage both as a teacher, and even when you go and look for your first job. If I were hiring teachers, the fact that you have ACTUALLY DONE STUFF (worked in the tech industry, raised kids, and probably more) puts you ahead of every 23 year old who who's only life experiences beyond living at home has been college.

    So don't worry about your age. Embrace it. People want teachers with maturity and experience in life.
     

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