New Old Teachers: Is it tougher for older NQTs?

This is an interesting Guardian Article which might reassure older people that teaching is something they can transition into if the attitude and approach and expectations are right. 

It looks specifically at a guy who transitioned from armed forces to teaching and mentions the Troops to Teachers scheme but it still has some relevancies for any older person moving into teaching or wanting to.

I’m not too sure I agree that 50 is too old to work full-time, I’m sure for many it’s not an option unless they have retired on a full pension from a previous career, if they have a partner working full-time, or they are rich. We’re going to be pretty screwed if we can’t work full-time beyond 50 now, those of us who are going to be in our 70’s when we can finally hang up our flip chart markers and Powerpoint clickers.

I wonder if older new teachers are valued and if they find it more or less difficult to find a role as an NQT especially in schools where there is more of a tradition for teachers to come fresh from university in their early twenties. As opposed to the FE sector where industry experienced teachers were more of the norm and HE where of course academic achievement and publications are a measure of value.

As an older teacher myself, just turned 46 when I started my placement, I found myself one of the oldest in the department but don’t think that was a problem, certainly managed to have a good few laughs with my colleagues and didn’t feel out of place. In the classroom it was certainly not a problem, I got on tremendously well with the students and if anything found my age was a valuable asset when teaching business. It was so easy to refer back to the way things used to be done and to bring real comparisons to show how much the business world had changed and moved on in a short space of time and how technology had impacted. They responded well to those comparisons and they evoked some good discussions.

I think maybe having teenage kids helps too you’re in that zone but well out of it in other respects, their world is not alien to you, you find yourself watching teen TV and listening to popular music by default and when you are scanning your own under 16’s social media accounts carrying out essential auditing you get an insight into their world, you know what’s going on with fashion, with their attitudes to social topics, their education too of course. You also know when they are swinging the lead, trying it on and trying to pull the wool over your eyes, you’ve heard all of the excuses (you’ve even created some of them for your own kids to use) so you’re just more in tune with their world and having your own teenagers does remind you very much of being one yourself.

However the same could be said of a younger teacher who was living that teen lifestyle just a few years earlier and maybe still is. But then I think when you are fresh out of the teens you are very much trying to assert and find yourself as an adult and remove yourself from the teen world and teenagers seem more ghastly than they do when you look at them through the nostalgic eyes of a forty-something.

Just my opinions and immediate thoughts. Would be interesting to hear other people’s takes on this or to read anything anyone’s seen on the subject.


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