The focus of this chapter is the age diversity and development stages of school-aged children. But what about the teachers’ age? What impacts of teachers’ age have on their teaching and their students? What are the strengths and downfalls of young teachers and old teachers? Are teachers the older the better?
Young teachers are fresh off school and full of new concepts and ideas of education; their passion and energy make natural ties between them and their students; they are apt to use modern technologies both in classrooms and the communications with students (e.g. internet, texting, youtube, facebook). They could be teachers, friends, and role models for students. However, younger teachers seem “immature” and need to grow up as well as the students. They may lack skills of classroom management, ability to handle emergencies, which were learned over the YEARS of teaching. Since young teachers have not raised their own children, they might fail to understand issues from the stand point of parents.
Are teachers the older the better? Veteran teachers are often referred as “experienced”, “highly efficient”, since they have been teaching the same subject over the years and have extracted the best teaching materials and approaches to teaching. They have rich life lessons, which enable them to understand what parents are expecting from and worrying about their children. Older teachers are familiar with education policies, routines, procedures, resources, personnel that are helpful for dealing with general and specific cases. Nevertheless, old teachers may rely too much on their former experience when solving problems, other than try to learn new findings of education. If they are not updated with the knowledge of all kinds of learning disability, they might easily label a child with learning disability as “trouble maker”, “do not follow directions” etc.
So, I will conclude that a middle-age teacher (such as me), would combine all the strengths of being young and old and be the best teacher! Just kidding! Judging a teacher by his/her age, is “ageism”, and thus biased. Best teachers can be from any age group, as long as the teacher is passionate about his/her job, listening to students and parents, professional in the content area, self-reflective about his/her teaching, and always ready to learn new things.