Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Respect The Experience...Ageism in Education!

This is a society that does not, as a whole, respect experience.

Instead of viewing someone's experience as something of value, oftentimes it is seen as worthless.

There is a huge difference between a 30 year teacher who is about to burn out, and a 30 year teacher who is still passionate about his/her profession.

But yet, they are treated the same.

People start to find things "wrong" with them. Lessons that were once phenomenal, are now basic. Test scores from previous years are dusted off and questioned.
Their wisdom, no matter how relevant, is considered outdated.
Pick, pick,pick....until finally, they give up and give in. Leaving behind a profession they were passionate about, and were still willing to do for a few more years.

It seems as if the mission is to put veteran teachers out to pasture, and replace them with "fresh, new" teachers.

I know how many "fresh,new teachers", could be hired with a veteran teacher's salary. I know there are "fresh, new" teachers who will bend over backwards doing whatever is asked, whenever it's asked. I know there are "fresh, new" teachers that will spend every,waking,moment of the day trying to please. But should these be the defining factors of a good educator?

Shouldn't the defining factors be that the job is done? That the teacher is educating the children? That the parents feel confident that their children are learning? That the teacher uses techniques that engage the children of today? That the teacher has no problem staying relevant with the changes in education?

We are a society that is enamored with staying young. Instead of embracing and respecting our elders, we shun and/or disrespect them. Instead of being proud of our veteran experience,we hide it away as if it is a shameful secret.

A woman at my church turned 75 the other day.
Someone said, "How old are you, 29?"
She said, "No, I am 75 years old. I will claim my 75 years because it has made me what I am today!."

That's how I feel about teaching. I have taught for 30 years, and I claim every year of it. It has made me the teacher I am today. I'm not ready to be put out to pasture. I'm like a good wine, I only get better with age.:)

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