Very young (looking) teacher

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by gferrari, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    Hi my name is Greg. I am currently 20 years old, and I look much younger. I am starting my Masters in Education this summer. I will student teach right after my 21st birthday, and will look as young, if not younger than the high school students I will be teaching. Does this pose a problem? I am also about 5'9 115 lbs. I know there is no way to get around this. Will this hinder my chances at getting a job? Also I have tattoos, most are hidden, but a few on my arms. They are very tasteful, nothing obscene at all. Will I need to always wear long sleeve shirts?
     
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  3. smilesjd

    smilesjd Rookie

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    Hi Greg! When I student taught the university I attended had a rule for student teachers that all tatoos must be covered and not visible. I am not sure the rules of the schools that we taught at, but everyone just covered their tatoos up because of the colleges rule. I think it is more professional to have them covered up. I do not have any, but some of my fellow classmates did and they had not problem with covering them up.

    I would hope the your young look would not keep you from getting hired. I had a friend who interviewed and did not get hired because of that case. The only reason she found out was because it was an interview at the school she student taught at and her former cooperating teacher asked if she could review the notes from the interview with her. The notes stated that she interviewed very well, but she looked too immature. She dressed very professionally, but she is very short and skinny. She does look very young. This however should NOT be a reason to not hire someone. This is the only case I've ever heard of, so I hope the schools you interview with are choosing a teacher based on qualifications.
     
  4. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    Yeah that's what I am worried about. Hopefully I can just build a good reputation by being good at my job.

    p.s. I guess its a good thing I didn't get any tattoos on my knuckles or on my face Mike Tyson style ;)
     
  5. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Appearance frequently affects hiring decisions. It shouldn't make much difference for most jobs, but it does. If you look young, a very conservative charcoal or navy blue pin striped business suit, white long sleeve button down oxford cloth shirt, and rep silk tie is probably the best thing to wear to the interview. Those two suit colors have the highest authority associations. Think Brooks Brothers. There is one in Littleton.
     
  6. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I am 23 and was 22 over the summer when I was interviewing. One principal that I interviewed with called me back for a second interview and at that interview showed me his notes from the first and explained what he liked and why he called me back. One thing that he did write on the page was YOUNG....just as I typed it. I was a little discouraged. It can be a factor, but does not necessarily mean that you will not get hired. Just dress as professionally as possible and try to carry yourself in a mature, professional manner to try to remind them that you are qualified, even if you do look young.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2005
  7. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    Well, I might just have to apply EVERYWHERE. This is a curse in my family. When my brother started teaching a college class at 30 he looked like a freshman, and was chided by his students until after ten minutes of class they finally figured out that the real teacher wasn't coming in.
     
  8. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Ill be 20 in may and get this all the time ....when I go in for practicums I always have to explain that I am in college not high school..lol...I agree with beth dress professionally and be prepared !

    Good Luck!!!
     
  9. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    My favorite question is "If you didn't go to high school for four years, why would like to teach it"
     
  10. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Haha, I've had the opposite problem deedee, my senior year of hs I did a lot of volunteering in K-1st, and everyone thought I was a student teacher! No, about 4 years to young for that, lol ;)
     
  11. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    Yeah yeah keep braggin' :D
     
  12. ViolaSwamp

    ViolaSwamp Habitué

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    I would suggest that you never wear jeans until you are hired--it will make you seem younger. I was told to dress very professional until hired. I've actually heard and read that a student teacher should (and consequently almost always will) dress nicer than the teachers at your school. In "The first days of school" by Harry Wong (a book that will be suggested to you no less than 3 times in your career) a teacher was actually quoted as saying that she noticed that her students treated her more respectfully when she stopped dressing casually. Personally I believe it may have also been about the attitude she displayed to her students when she was dressed up.
     
  13. gferrari

    gferrari Rookie

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    Money is a bit of a problem, but I usually dress fairly well. I never get complaints at least ;)
     
  14. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    I always dress very nicely, gferrari, and I am BROKE! If you're willing to wear used clothes, you can find some really nice stuff at yard sales and thrift stores; I have several pairs of slacks that are in perfect condition that I could never have afforded new (and I never pay more than $12 a pair- usually $3-4 is my limit!). If you want new clothes, Dillard's has very good sales, I bought a very nice suit a few years ago for $30 or $40 dollars. I've worn it a few times a month for years and it still looks good.
     
  15. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    If looking young is a problem, it is worth finding a way to get the appropriate clothes, be it shopping at a thrift store, getting an extra job, or whatever it takes. You need to project maturity to those who will be evaluating or hiring, and authority to the students. FWIW, if you check around, you may be able to find a thrift store where you can finds suits that would cost several hundred dollars new, and have only been worn a few times, for pennys on the dollar.
     
  16. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I am 22 and teaching kindergarten. My age is the reason I didn't pursue a secondary degree, I figure I can do that in a few more years. I started practicums when I was 18 and it was hard being in a 6th grade class simply because I was inexperienced, but I couldn't have dealt with age Q's too. I started interviewing at 20 and I never mentioned my age, also dress impecably, and sat up straight. I don't mention my age now, I am still the youngest and only when it comes up do I mention it. Don't use it as an excuse for being broke, for not understanding something, or for any other reason. I figure I may be young, but I got here by working just as hard as everyone else (maybe more!). I got the same questions and little attitude from profs in college when they saw my personal info and I had just turned 17, but oh well. Good luck!
     
  17. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Ya I learned that a long time ago to never tell my age unless asked . I was a head counselor at 17 and had people working under me that were 20+...ya they werent pleased..however I put in the time and deserved my position..now I never say it because people can be very caddy
     
  18. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I always have to tell my age. Everyone thinks I'm 20. And I am 30. It's such a pain. When I used to sub in high at age 25 people that didn't know me would walk into the classroom and ask where the teacher/sub was. I would say right here. One teacher actually laughed and walked out of the room saying something like well tell your teacher I was looking for her.
    It is a pain. I have found that dressing in nice pants/skirts (since I'm female) and sweaters or blouses works out well. But I still get the oh no your not 30. It drives me nuts.
    Then again I'll probably love it at 50.
    Never wear jeans to work, unless it is jean day at the school.
     
  19. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Yep, you'll love it at 50.
     
  20. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    I'm 24 and I am teeny-tiny (4'11--almost, and under 100 pounds) and even young looking in the face. I don't wear make-up at all, and my naturally curly hair is usually pulled back in a pony tail just because I'm too lazy to try to get it to cooperate with me. I always joke that I am going to write to Oprah and ask for an opposite make-over- she does all those shows to make people look 10 years younger, but I need one to make me look older! It doesn't help that many of the only clothes that fit me without my having to alter them come from the children's section!
    I taught 3rd grade last year and many of my students were the same height as I was. I was offered a chance to teach 5th grade, but my mentor teacher even said, "Oh my, you'd be lost in the crowd".
    I now teach 1st and in Jan. I'll be teaching a 1/2 multiage. I don't think I've ever had a probelm with looking little or young at an interview. In fact, one interviewer told me that the woman who had arranged my interview over the phone actually told him "Her little voice is so cute... I hope she's good so we can hire her!"
     
  21. teacherchick

    teacherchick Companion

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    Welcome to my orld! I am 30 and look 18 and everyone evem the kids I work with and their parents comment about it. However if you dress the part and always act professional you are golden. About the tats, I have two highly visable ones on my ankles and I have never been talked to about them, I Suggest wearing long shirts during interviews and when you get hired have a talk ith the admin and mention it. T ell them you are ok with wearing long sleeves but would it e acceptable to wear short. Then there is always lazer removal. lol:p. We all do prettythoughtless things if i were smarter and had forsight when i was younger I would have them all put where u can not see. Bu that was then hindsight is 20/20
     
  22. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    ....I was considering gettin a tatoo but I think I'm too chicken..plus the whole teaching thing ....probably wont happen !
     
  23. coach laid back

    coach laid back New Member

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    i began teaching as a 20-year old in a high school where I was also hired as the men's soccer coach. During the interview, I dressed professionally as expected. After getting the job, I realized that I had students that would be older than me (I teach Special Education). However, I went into the class with the attitude that I was the adult and in charge, and my Special education and Regular education students had no problem with how young I looked. I think its all in how you behave as the teacher. funny story, one of the principals tried to send me to ISS for skipping class on the 5th day of school, so just meet everyone. You'll be fine. Good luck
     
  24. Ashtrey

    Ashtrey Companion

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    I thought it was just me

    I'm 25 - and I guess, I too, look REALLY young. I was at Wal-Mart last night and the lady working REFUSED to sell me 2 movies that were rated R. She told me that I didn't look 17 and she had to see my ID. I had left my purse in the car and only took in my debit card to do my shopping. She would not sell me the freaking movies. I have never been so mad.

    I guess I even sound REALLY young. There was another time, I was calling different Doctors offices to see if they were accepting new patients. One place I called, said "Honey, you'll have to have your mommy or daddy call a different Doctor" "We only accept ADULT patients."

    Ashley
     
  25. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    If you want a tatoo, get it someplace that doesn't show in your school clothes and there will be no problem.
     
  26. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Ha ha, Ashley... earlier this year, someone called my house and asked if my "mommy" was home. I said, "no, but my husband is here, would you like to speak with him?"
    Also, when I taught in a private school (1st grade), some of the parents suggested that for Halloween I borrow one of the school uniforms and go as a student.
     
  27. jaruby

    jaruby Companion

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    I have the same problem. I am 31 and look maybe 20. When I go places I need to look "older" I wear nice pants, a sweater and glasses instead of contacts. I've also learned not to cut my hair too short that also makes me look young. Just dont dress to "trendy" that seems to always make me seem younger.
     
  28. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

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    I'm 24 and look like I'm high school. I teach in an elementary school, so my problems aren't that bad...but whenever I buy lunch the lunch lady always stares at me and has to think before she remembers I'm a teacher. The sad thing is I buy lunch with the 4th graders!!
     
  29. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Oh boy, this is the thread for me! I am 21, just finished student teaching and I'm interviewing right now. When I tell people I just graduated, they say, "Oh you graduated from highschool already? Wow!" And I say, "No, college." Ha! They think I'm 14-15. I'm glad to see there are people out there in the same boat!

    As for interviewing, I try to dress professional. I just got some suits for Christmas (I hear there have been great sales at Dillards as well) so when I start teaching I plan to dress as professional as I can to help gain authority and respect at the school. But I'm sure it's not completely the clothes that do it, it's your attitude.
     
  30. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    When I first started teaching I was 21 and looked very young. I taught in a k-8 school. One year I had a lunch lady ask me what grade I was in. Someone looked at her and said she is the kindergarten teacher. One year a parent asked how old I was I was. I kinda just looked at her and she said you look like you can date my 18 year old son.

    In grad school someone mistook me for a freshman! I looked at her and said no I am in grad school she looked shocked.

    This year I am at a new school and I could tell one parent wasn't sure about me. After the conferenece she For looking so young and doing a great job and I can see you have experience. I looked at her and said ah thanks I have been teaching for a 5 years and I don't look as young as I am.
    I am 26 - this is my 5th year teaching and I have my masters so I have the experience but look like I am 20.
     
  31. teachanator

    teachanator New Member

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    Everyone in my family seems to have this same problem. I'm 24, but everyone tells me I look 11 or 12. I never wear jeans or casual clothing, but this doesn't seem to help. My face looks young, but it's mostly a height factor considering I'm only 4'8". When I interviewed for my first position at my current school I told the principal I was leaning toward either kindergarten or fifth grade. I was of course placed with kindergarten because I according to the principal I "looked kindergarten."

    Several parents were worried about having their child in my class because I looked so young. After having a large portion of my class perform more than four grades above level in reading in math by the end of the year, the parents admitted their initial prejudices and said they were glad they didn't ask to have their child moved to a different teacher. The next year there was a line of parents begging to have their child placed in my class.

    For some of us, no matter how much you play dress up, you will always look young. Instead of focusing your efforts on changing the way you look, try really hard to become a good teacher and eventually after you build a reputation, your looks won't matter.
     
  32. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I would say when we look at potential candidates for a job- first impressions make an impact. However, if you knock the interviewers socks of with your maturity and togetherness- a little tatoo here or there and age isn't going to be that big of a deal.

    We hired about 5 NEW teachers this last year- all fresh out of college. Sure, you look at how they dress, etc. But what it really boils down to is how they come across in an interview.

    Too, when I was subbing/interviewing in days past, I took the attitude that if I didn't get hired- it wasn't a match anyway, that I was better off not working at that school. It took me a few years to figure that out but it's true. You'll find a job and hopefully, it'll be a good match for both you and the district/school.

    Yes, cover up your tatoos- I'd much rather focus on your answers to the interview questions rather than whether or not your tatoo hurt when you got it.
     
  33. Lardygeezer

    Lardygeezer Comrade

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    I was passing through (browsing) the forums and this post caught my eye.

    The original post was an interesting question. Hiring (or not hiring) because of age is seemingly unfair, but is it really unreasonable. (I'm playing devils advocate here). At what point does age (or not) play a part. Clearly it does in the hiring process although few would admit to it.

    I would like to ask how many teachers in this forum who are the 'young', lets say under 28, are teachers who work in low performing schools, inner city or poor socio economic areas?



    I recall an experience I witnessed as a high school teacher where a female teacher who was young and not much older than the students she was teaching in 10th & 11th Grade. I watched a year go by and saw that she had little or no control over the males in her classroom who seemed to consider she was fair game for their adolescent hormone charged personages. The females seem to divide into three factions, the ones who didn't care, those that wanted to become a 'sister' to her, and those that saw her as a threat to the available supply of males in the class or at least favouring of them.

    The teacher was firm and did her best and was far from being complacent about the situation. My classroom was next to hers and not only could I hear some of the daily antics in the classroom but witnessed the hallway conversations between classes. I recall hearing some conversations and thinking that if they had been talking about my sister and I had been a student I'd have whacked them! There was certainly an element of disrespect in both females and males towards the teacher and from what I witnessed this was not because she was bad teacher but because there was no perceivable difference in age and outward appearance. They treated her like they treated their friends or should I say classmates.

    I wonder if any of you would care to venture in to a rephrasing of the question as an exercise of debate and consider:


    What effect does having a teacher who is (or either appears to be) not much older than the students have from a student perspective - does it affect learning?

    Consider this question in two areas, K-8 and K9-12.


    I would also like to hear candid and honest reflections from 'young' (28 or less) teachers as to what they believe to be the advantages and disadvantages (if any) caused by their youthfulness, in the classroom as a teacher.
     
  34. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    I have a feeling that this will be one of my problems when I begin hiring, that and the fact that a lot of people in my county know my parents. Not a lot of people like my dad, and it's already starting to show that it's going to be taken out on me somewhat. I just applied for a parapro job and I didn't get it because the teacher knew him and didn't like him. I also look young myself. My boyfriend thinks that the clothes that i pick out that i like look too "grandma-ish". But they are the ones that i actually like. I'm just scared about the interviews in general!
     
  35. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    What types of clothing are you picking out? What are you wearing to the interviews?
     
  36. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

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    grandma clothes

    i've benn picking out things like wide legged pants, dress boots, and fitted blazers. Or nice kakhis (spelling?), a turtleneck sweater and a dressy blue jean coat. He thinks it's old woman looking. But what does he like? he likes the button up shirts with a sweater over top of it that coordinates.
     
  37. stephanie90102

    stephanie90102 Rookie

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    I am 21 and look very young too. I am always worried that when I meet parents in classrooms I am practicing in that they will take me with a grain of salt. I know what I'm doing, but I know first impressions are everything, and I've noticed many people (administration in particular) take a young appearance as a sign of immaturity. So I act as mature as possible at all times. You never know when you're going to be standing behind the principal you're going to interview with in the grocery line with your friends. Best of luck!
     
  38. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    haha, I've been working in my future mil's class the past few weeks, and my bf hates what I've been wearing! I actually have a denim jumper dress with apples on it and a matching jacket. He says that he understands that I can't really wear revealing stuff to kinder, but that I don't have to dress like I'm 35 ;) Oh well...
     
  39. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I think he means more like 80. I'm sorry to those of you that like "teacher" clothing but I am never going to wear a teacher sweater. No way no way. I can't stand those cutesy things. The only teacher thing I do is wear socks with designs on them. I swear only teaches wear them lol. At the allergist's office I can picked out teachers by either their socks or their teacher clothing.
    Anyway sorry DN if I offended you, or anyone else.
     

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