Generation Gaps Within Teaching Staff

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I have read a few articles today discussing "Gen Y" and the transition from not just having millennial students, but having a majority of teachers be under 35. There was a bit on "inter-generational" tension and how millennials might think differently about collaboration, technology, relationship with admin, etc. It was suggested that we basically cater to the needs of Gen Y teachers if we expect to retain them.

    Has your building had issues with this? How have you addressed millennials specifically as a colleague or administrator? (Please, no fights! :) I am genuinely just curious.)
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I have never worked in a school where teachers of different ages were treated differently. I am a baby boomer and when I started teaching I worked with teachers that were born in the 1920's and 1930's. We treated each other as equals and that is what I have experienced throughout my career.
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Never heard of such a thing where I work.
     
  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We have a diverse staff, age-wise. There are a few teachers the same age as I am, some young enough to be my children, and everything in between. None of us are treated differently and no one, at least in my experience, expects to be.
     
  6. cartwheels

    cartwheels Rookie

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    The school I just left had ZERO teachers over 35 until just this year! In fact, the vast majority of teaching staff was between about 22 and 27 years of age, I'd say.

    This year, there were a 2 or 3 teachers in their late 30s/early 40s range added to staff. Honestly, I think that they were treated a little bit differently. Being at a charter where most of the staff came up through Teach for America, there was some lack of respect for traditionally certified teachers (which most of the "older" staff is). As someone who wants to teach as a career, not just for 2-4 years before moving on to something "better," I'm glad I'm out of there. Young teachers with innovative ideas are great, but there's also a lot to be said for the knowledge and expertise gained through experience.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I wouldn't say teachers of a different age are treated differently, but those of us under 35 do handle the technology teaching. Most of our older teachers took longer to get the hang of google, which is fine. Those of us who understood it right away helped out those who didn't. We help out when needed, which I think is perfect.
     
  8. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Can you post links to some of the articles you read? I'd be curious to read them too.
     
  9. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We have a very diverse group of teachers. I believe the youngest is 36 and the oldest are in their mid-50s.

    I'm definitely the youngest certificated staff member. I'll be 33 in a few weeks.

    The only "issue" I've had with the teachers around my mom's age is with technology. Whether it's logging in to DataDirector to get their kids' test scores or giving them step-by-step directions on how to get their students hooked up to Chromebooks, I've been very patient because I remind myself that they (teachers in their 50s) didn't even have PCs when they first started teaching.

    My mom reminds me to be patient with teachers her age. She always says "...none of that stuff even existed during my first two decades as a teacher!" :hugs:
     
  10. Leatherette

    Leatherette Comrade

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    I am forty-three, and the tech thing is a bit of an issue, but I can handle it. I am definitely seeing its impact on some of the older teachers (although others "get it" more than me). I have noticed that our new, younger ( mid thirties ?) principal lacks patience for the older teachers.
     
  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I am a millenial and I am the only one in my staff that is in my age group. The nearest in age to me is staff that are at least a decade older or more. (we have someone who is at least 5 decades older than me on staff)

    I definitely like my staff, but I don't relate to them as much because we're just of different generations and it's sometimes hard to talk about things I would talk to with someone my age or for them to talk to with someone their age. A lot of sentences start with: "Wait till you get to be our age...", or "Well, you're young so..." (it gets particularly annoying when they attribute my teaching skill to me being young or when they ask me to do extra things because I'm not saddled with kids or marital issues)

    While that is sometimes annoying, it's not a major issue. (There's definitely more to be worried about in life that shallow things like that). I've pretty much been made the tech guy for our site since I'm apparently the only one who knows how to do anything with technology (aside from our 80 year old IT guy -- so hey, age is not a barrier to understanding technology guys! -- only problem is he's rarely around). That's definitely given me a plus with many teachers and the admin especially.

    So I guess, am I treated differently? Of course. Does it really matter. Not really. I still have the same responsibilities as every other staff member. I don't think anyone has to cater to me. If I have a problem with something or someone I'll either work it out or get over it. If I need friends I just make friends with people my age outside of school. I have a rock climbing partner who is my age who I hang out regularly with. As for teacher friends, I am a part of a lot of professional groups that allow me to meet people my age who are teachers outside of my school, and that works out okay. (I find I'm actually not too big a fan of creating lots of teacher "friendships" persay as teacher "collaborations. Everything ends up being about school again, and while I like to rant sometimes, sometimes I just like to forget about it.)
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    It's interesting reading about the tech "lag" in older teachers. The three of us on staff who are the most progressive with technology (and the ones who other staff come to) are 43, 45, and 54.
     
  13. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    We have a diverse age group of teachers ranging from about 25 (me) to 60s or 70s. The unofficial mentoring, advice, and friendship I receive from my elder colleagues is invaluable. As a traditionally certified teacher, I haven't personally experienced the tension that can arise with alternatively certified teachers, but since we have several of them in my school (of all ages) I really don't see that it could be a problem. We respect each other for what we bring to our students and the school. As for tech, many of our older teachers are quite tech-savvy and I have had to lean on them many times for help. I see my colleagues as people with diverse talents.
     
  14. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I learned everything I know about the internet, computers, and website design from my 70 year old grandpa.
     
  15. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    The most "techie" teachers I know are also....seasoned.
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    My school is an even mix of over-40 teachers and 30-or-under teachers. As far as I can tell, all of the over-40 teachers are vaguely aware of some magic box in their room that lets them write letters to people that get sent instantaneously.
     
  17. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    There are 2-3 teachers on staff under 30. There are 3-4 in the 30-35 range, and the rest are late 30s-early 50s. We have a staff of 40.
     
  18. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    :lol::lol:
     
  19. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    In my department, the oldest person is our department chair at 42. Therefore, wet have no issues with age differences (except that sometimes I feel ancient at 32!). I have seen issues with some much older teachers in other departments when it comes to technology or dealing with the violence that occurs in our school, but it hasn't affected me.
     
  20. FourSquare

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    It's interesting that most people commented about technology. I came from a school where every teacher was under 30, to a school with many teachers of various ages. I would say technology use was pretty spread out at both schools. The only real difference I see is this sort of "island mentality" among veteran teachers. The district is pushing a lot of team initiatives, peer observation, sharing resources, etc. Newer teachers seem to be all about this, and older teachers a little more hesitant. (Again, not complaining....just curious if this was unique to us.) Apparently collaboration and feedback is a big "Gen Y" thing. I am thinking about how this might impact our school community with things like committee participation and the new evaluation system. I'd hope everyone feels welcome and valuable regardless of experience.


    Here are some things:

    http://www.newteacher.com/pdf/ascd_express_wong_teachers.pdf

    http://www.infonomics-society.org/IJCDSE/Recruiting and Retaining Generation Y Teachers.pdf

    http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_gen_y_fix_our_schools
     
  21. bros

    bros Phenom

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    I learned quite a bit about computers, at least initially, from my grandfather (Who was in his... late 50s/early 60s at the time). He knew a lot about computers from working at Bell Labs in the 60s as a computer repair tech (on the big old punch card computers), then working as a Computers, Science, and Technology consultant for the Associated Press for many years.

    I learned a little bit from my uncle too, mostly he introduced me to pirated MS-DOS games :p

    My step-grandfather introduced me to computers, though, since my brother and I would spend many afternoons over there after school, as my mom worked in my grandmother's basement, so he had an old 386 set up with a bunch of games on them that he had my uncle pirate.
     
  22. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    There are very, very few classroom teachers in my school over the age of 35. Most are in the range of 23-26.
     
  23. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I haven´t seen any group treated different because of age. In fact, my school is great at treating everyone the same and listening well to eachother because we are so diverse. It´s an international school so we have teachers from all over the world (students as well, although our student population is mostly comprised of Mexican students) and as different as different can be. It´s such a wonderful experience!
     
  24. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Ditto! The other sped teacher we hired this year is also in her 20's, so I'm thankful for that, but last year before her I was the only teacher under 40. It took me awhile to fit in socially because literally everyone else is married and/or has kids. It seemed like all they wanted to talk about was their kids, or ask when I'd be having some, haha. As I got to know people better I managed to figure out what some of their interests are and steer the conversation towards those. I do have a little group of teachers that I eat lunch with, and I'm thankful for them, but I'm glad that I have a lot of friends outside of work too!

    I don't notice too many issues with technology. There are some teachers that use it a lot and some that use it a little, and age doesn't seem to make a difference. It does feel like to me that the older our teachers get, the more negative they are. I think that many would constantly disapprove of my P no matter what she did, and the things they spend time complaining about seem petty. Sometimes I feel like I'm being "pollyanna" in comparison, but I used to work for a truly terrible P and the "problems" my current school has are minuscule in comparison. Of course when I try to make positive comments, many people wave it off as me just being young and naive. As far as the stereotype that our generation is "entitled", I would say that if someone truly is very entitled they won't last long in education. I was raised on "old school" values and the friends I have that are teachers were too.
     
  25. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I would probably say that as a young naive teenager in High School and even in early college years, I definitely felt entitled. I eventually grew up, had to earn my own education, and work and earn for myself. I think if you look at only teenagers of any generation, the majority of them probably feel entitled. Even young adults whose parents continue to fund them through a proverbial umbilical cord and shield them from consequences are likely to feel entitled, but given the chance to grow up and live on their own, most would grow out of it. (some are required to grow out of it far earlier because of their family circumstances)

    To claim an entire generation is 'entitled' is probably just facetious complaining.
     
  26. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I am 30 and was the youngest teacher on staff until this year. Most of my colleagues have been teaching 20+ years and are close to retirement. There has been lots of turnover lately as a result of many retirements each year.

    I feel like I am more realistic about teaching because of my colleagues. They have seen teaching change over the last 20 years. They keep things 'real' and this has helped me to keep a healthy balance in life.

    In terms of technology, our school is not well equipped with technology. So we use what we have, which is quite minimal, and make the best of it. We certainly aren't reliant on technology.
     
  27. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm smack in the middle of GenX and in my faculty age range. A ton of teachers at my school were previously retired and came back to teaching online. Others are fresh out of college and are starting their families. This makes it hilarious when we have meetings. Half my colleagues are showing off pictures of their college graduates or young grandchildren, and the other half are showing off their ultrasounds.
     
  28. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I am 57, almost the oldest teacher in the school. I agree about being slow to pick up on tech however that is because we don't rely on it as much as the young teachers. You should hear the wailing when the school internet fails! Yet my blackboard still works and the kids still learn! Us older nes are also the ones that are called upon when something 'new' comes along as we all know it isn't really 'new' at all but just something we taught 10/15/20 years ago!
     
  29. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Yes, I do think some of the twenty-somethings were hired based on looks and because they can coach a sport or student taught there.

    Some are talented teachers, but others are lacking in specialized knowledge. I know, because I go by their classrooms and they're speaking in such simplified way and basically repeating what the textbook says. They convey a limited view of say, historic events.

    Judging by their e-mails, their grammar leaves a lot to be desired.
     
  30. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I totally agree with this. I do think that the younger teachers are far more dependent upon technology than the older teachers, in general. But I have some coworkers in their 40s that didn't start teaching until later, after technology became a push in schools, and they are just as dependent.
     
  31. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I'm in my early 40s. I am very, very comfortable using a computer, smartboard, ipad, or any other technology you want to put in front of me.

    I can do things with my smartboard that mystifies many other teachers, including 20somethings. :)
     
  32. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Our school is pretty diverse with age range. I'm one of the youngest teachers, and we probably have 5-6 teachers in their 20s. We also have many teachers who have been teaching for 20 years or more.

    The only area in which I've noticed that the younger teachers have an advantage is in the vocabulary of our professional development. The teachers who were not in college recently know what we're talking about, but don't always know the wording that matches up with what they are doing.

    I think that I am intentional to embrace students' technology in the classroom more than some of the other teachers, but that may be due to my teaching philosophy, not my age. I allow my students to use their phones during class. They have to keep them out on their desks, and I'll say, "Alright, if you have a phone, google this," and then we'll discuss what they find. I'll assign kids to look up different things and read them to the class, or I'll ask a student to look up a definition to a word they don't know. I teach English, so the content lends itself to those types of activities. Some of the other teachers immediately confiscate phones if they see them being used. I don't try to fight it, because these phones are a part of their lives.
     
  33. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    eh, their genitals are part of their lives too. I don't want them whipping those out and playing with them during class either.
     
  34. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I am very dependent on technology. I plan everything using technology and all of my lessons are technology based. So when the internet goes down, it does become an inconvenience. But since my schools' internet goes down so frequently, I've learned to not be entirely reliant on it. My Google Drive automatically backs up onto my computers hard drive so I can just print it out from my hard drive when the internet fails. And if there is a power outage, I am pretty good about coming up with an "unplugged" lesson on the fly (usually using the textbook).
     
  35. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I laughed out loud when I read that!:lol:

    The 'vocabulary' is usually a load of made up titles with the words chosen so they make a mis-spelled acronym which is then spouted from the front by some fresh faced person (usually ginger haired as well in my experience). 90% of this tosh is just recycled stuff that already failed or was dropped several years before. The remaining 10% may actually contain something useful if only there was the budget behind it to support it.

    Us old sweats love to ask if this new acronym is actually (insert 10 year old acronym here) and of course the suit at the front won't have heard of the old one as they were still in high school back then!
     
  36. Pi-R-Squared

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    I'm turning 40 this year so that puts in at the end of Gen X and beginning of Gen Y. I've programmed on a Commodore 64, answered phones with the "vintage" ring, watched live TV that I couldn't pause or rewind, and started college when whiteboards were considered "new." Being a math teacher, I don't use technology much in the classroom. When students ask me if they can use a calculator, I tell them to point to their brains and to use it. I see how technology can create 6th graders who cannot do their 4 basic operations without using fingers..... I was taught math the old-school way and it kinda depresses me that students have become so technology-dependent to the point where they can't do reading, writing, and arithmetic without it. :(
     
  37. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    From one "old sweat" to another :thumb:
     
  38. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    We are having some CPD at the moment which is rolled out to us in threes over 9 days (one day per week for 9 weeks). At the end of this time the selected three have to present what they have learned to the rest of the staff. I was picked in the first three to recieve this wisdom. There was some good stuff i it although the whole course could have been condensed into 2 days in my opinion. we did our whole school staff presentation. the second three to do the course did the same, when it got to the third group they couldn't think of anything to say that had not already been said so they came up with a 30 minute presentation where they painstakingly took us through their 4 word summary of the course. When they finally revealed the 4th word everyone realised the acronym was CR@P.
     
  39. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    I am the youngest teacher at my school at 23, and the oldest teacher is 61. Of course we get treated differently. Everyone is super nurturing to me, and I love it. I feel sorry for the ones who feel like their voices aren't heard.
     
  40. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    What exactly defines Gen X vs Gen Y/Millennial? I'm about to turn 33 (whoa) and I feel like I'm right in the middle of two generations. I grew up learning with traditional materials, but also used computer from a young age. I am comfortable teaching from a textbook as well as online. I understand the resistance and fear of change of (some, not all) older teachers, but I am also curious and embracing of change myself.

    I also feel like it's about more than just comfort with technology, as there are many older teachers who know more about tech than I do. I feel like it's more about mindset, and the ability to change easily. My dept. head, for example, has learned to use technology well, but doesn't trust it and I think feels threatened by all the change happening so fast all at once.

    But these are all of course HUGE generalizations, as any talk about generations really is!
     
  41. GeetGeet

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    hahahahaha!!! Sorry I almost just spit tea at my computer.
     

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