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Question primarily for high school/college students

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
How big a role does the age of your teacher(s) play? The school I teach at (private, junior-college-level language/business school) is in the process of replacing two teachers, who are leaving for family/personal reasons. The average age of the faculty members is about 45, which I myself feel is a bit old (I'm 48, and have just started my 23rd year at the school), so I'd prefer that people in their twenties or early thirties were hired. However, the school administration feels that young teachers don't stay long, either because they find better-paid jobs (there's a severe shortage of teachers here at present), decide to move on to another country (quite common among teachers of ESL, for example), quit to have kids, or burn out very quickly. Experience does count a lot, of course, but I wonder how many of us "oldies" lack the enthusiasm we once had, or understanding of the "younger generation" and its concerns. I can't say that I've seen that among most of my colleagues, but there are one or two I wonder about.
I've broached the subject with some of my classes, but I feel a lot of the kids are afraid to say what they really think for fear of insulting the older faculty members. Oddly enough, I did hear a number of complaints about our youngest faculty member (computer science teacher), but I don't think his problems have anything to do with his age (27, I believe), but with an inability to interact with people in general. But try finding another computer science teacher!
post #2 of 20
I have always prefered teachers at least a decade older than me... due to having more life experience ..
post #3 of 20
I'm a little out of your age range (college wasn't that long ago, though), but I honestly feel that if the teacher is a good teacher it really doesn't matter how old they are. My favorite teachers in high school were probably between 40 - 50 year old male history teachers. They both were easy to relate to & understood kids. Same with college, I actually liked most of my older (35+ years old) professors better, bc in a way they are more relaxed with their students and easier to have discussions with in class. I also had a 30 year old History professor in college who was awesome too. Depends more on the individual person than how old they are.
post #4 of 20
I am kinda half and half on that one. I enjoy teachers that are more near my age because I can relate to them better, I feel comfortable talking with them, they havent heard all of the good excuses yet, so it is easier to get away with stuff(j/k on that last one)

But on the other hand, I really enjoy teachers that are older because I feel they have more experience, they have more life stories that they may be able to relate to discussion. I feel as though what they teach me will be more thourough, they have been doing this for a while, maybe know more about what they are talking about rather than say someone fresh out of college. My two favorite teachers out of all my years of college are also the oldest teachers out of all of them. They were both magnificent professors. If given the chance, I would have taken every class they taught, just to take their classes.

I do agree that a good teacher is a good teacher no matter the age. It is a little weird though to walk in a classroom and look around wondering where the teacher is and someone younger than the majority of the class says 'I am the teacher'. That always throws me off, but in the end I really dont mind, young or old.
post #5 of 20
Originally Posted by milopixie
Depends more on the individual person than how old they are.

I've had good and bad from all ages.
post #6 of 20
I know it sounds like a wimp out, but I agree that it depends more on the person than their age.

In high school my two favorite teachers were roughly on both ends of the spectrum, one was about 27, the other over 50. They were both just good teachers.

Other than that I had young teachers that flirted with the opposite sex more than they teached, and older ones that were literally senile.
post #7 of 20
Ok, high school and college are a very long time ago for me -- but I do have a very VERY clear memory of who my best teachers were. They were of all ages, but the best -- head and shoulders above all the others -- was in her first year teaching when I first had her for English and Latin in Grade 8. She'd have been 8 or 9 years older than us, not more, but she was an educator in the true sense of the word -- got us excited and taught us, not facts, but how to learn and where to find the facts. She was fun, but she didn't take any guff, despite her relative youth.
post #8 of 20
I don't really care either way as long as they're good teachers in a variety of ways. However, if everything else was ideal (i.e. teaching style, personality, etc.), I'd prefer 38ish just so that they're old enough for me to feel like they're an authority. I'm 25.

Maybe if some of the teachers feel like they're too detached from the generation they're teaching, they can integrate more class discussion and interaction into the curriculum so they can learn with and from their peers as well as from the teacher.

I don't think many students expect to connect with, or have a lot in common with their teachers anyway. Most are used to experiencing the opposite since their teachers all throughout school have likely been old enough to be their parents.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow, what helpful input, which I'll certainly share with the final decision makers! It reflects what my students have been saying, so I guess I shouldn't worry about their being afraid to be perfectly honest about their preferences, or lack thereof.
post #10 of 20
Hiya Tricia!

Well as you know I'm a college student and I'm glad you did make this thread because I do have a few things to say about this.

I have six teachers and my english teacher has been teaching college students for six months, which means he started when we started this year and he's in his mid 20's and lets just say, he's not a good teacher - he can't control my usually well behaved class, he doesn't understand the course outline, he can't spell, we haven't learnt a thing and his classes are SUCH a drag. Now as you may remember English was my favourite subject last year, I had a wonderful english teacher, I would put her late 40's/early 50's and she was just wonderful, she had experience on her side and well I loved her and she gave me some of the best advice I've ever received, she made learning fun and everyone in the class passed with top marks.

Don't get me wrong I know all teachers have got to start somewhere, but our English teacher is just shocking. We've even considered talking to SMT - but what do we say? we don't have proof apart from the results from our recent exams. He sits there browsing his lap top all period, and yeah he's completely shocking.

Now last year I hated Maths but this year I've got a wonderful teacher, a man in his late 50's (I guess) and he's Canadian and he's just so wonderful with people, words and numbers - he is so easy to understand and explains things so well, and I'm top of the class passing everything.

So I don't know if all this ramble has helped at all but I guess when it comes down to it, I do prefer the older teachers - they are much wiser.

Good question Tricia!
post #11 of 20
I know I'm no high school student, but the word 'primarily' in the title gives me license.

I personally don't think it makes a bit of difference. Of my own best teachers in high school, one was very young, and the other was probably 60.

The tendency I might be talked into accepting is that a very young teacher is close enough in age to high schoool students so that he or she may not draw the line between personal and professional.

On the other hand, an older teacher may well be someone just putting in his or her time until retirement.

Age alone is not enough to be a determining factor. So don't worry Tricia, you can keep your job.
post #12 of 20
I couldnever be a teacher

I think it really depends also, when i was in school in australia, the girls who were aged 16 - 19 all fell in love with the 25 year old teacher, He was a good teacher but left a year later to teach at a all boys school since the girls were distracting him too much..

One male teacher got kicked out for having an affair with a year 12, a year and a half later after losing his job, wife and child he commited suicide on xmas day..

One girl who was 14 fell in love with the 50+ teacher, he then never taught a class that involved her or any of her friends, he was so embarrased.. But he was a really good geography teacher although he didnt have much patience, But he still got along with us and we missed him alot when he didnt teach us anymore.

I personally got along with the teachers who were alot older about 45+ and to teachers who were very similar to me, in year 8 and 9 i never got along with any of my english teachers, i guess this is why i didnt do well in those years.

I enjoyed my time at school, my friends were telling me how worse the school got since i left, all the good teachers moved because of our principal, the principal built new things and made us have less space to sit anywhere but when you spoke to the principal face to face she was a very nice lady (to me anyway) she didnt even tell me off for wearing high heels to school (they did look decent just werent allowed as it was a catholic all girls school) ohh when i think of those days i miss it so much and would love to go back to school!
post #13 of 20
Okay, I know I am a homeschooler, but my own experiences with my specialty subjects (sports and arts) are that the person you trust the most is the one who shares your tastes, likes and dislikes. I have had both my experiences in sports, and I will always be more confortable with a 20 some year old with whom you can joke about girlfriends in mid class, than jaded baby boomer who is far too serious for you to feel confident. But at the same time I prefer an elderly man who can be funny and can inspire confidence before a serious 20 year old. And I have met them.
post #14 of 20
Jaded baby boomer?!?!?!? Gee Victor, are you out to insult 9/10 of the membership of TCS?
post #15 of 20
Originally Posted by Deb25
Jaded baby boomer?!?!?!? Gee Victor, are you out to insult 9/10 of the membership of TCS?
Oops... forgot the demographics...

Look at it from the bright side... the jaded ones are all males.
post #16 of 20
Most of my teachers in high school ended up being roughly my parents' age, i.e. they had kiddos my age or older.

Some of them were excellent, and I still look up to them and respect them. One of them was bat**** crazy, and the drugs he did in the 60's finally caught up to him (according to one of his friends, another teacher at the school).

I don't think that age really had anything to do with how much I respected my teachers, so much as the competance they showed during lessons. There really isn't much that I hate more than ineptitude, though, and I was in the top of the top track. I could have graduated my junior year (and, indeed, would have if I'd taken 2 physical education credits rather than AP Chem), so my senior year was spent taking 7 AP classes and studying for 9 AP tests. I didn't have time to waste on teachers who spent too much time being relevant to my generation at the expense of solid lesson plans.

Then again, I spend 90% of my time around people of my parents' and grandparents' generation, because of the internship with a major tech company that I've had since I was 16. Age just isn't something that I care about, because it is, in my experience, no indicator of anything.
post #17 of 20
My best teachers in elementary school ( k-8) were in there sixties ... the best in high school were mid thirties ... young enough to understand me at my pt in life yet knowledgeable about life .... worst were in there late forties and mid 20s
post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by sharky
I have always prefered teachers at least a decade older than me... due to having more life experience ..
I find that some young teachers want to be well liked and so they are too flexible with their students. The best teachers have control of their students from the begining but are willing to be flexible when necessary. If teachers doesn't gain control right way the students won't respect them and will pretty much walk all over them.
post #19 of 20
It really depended on the teacher's style. But generally young, just hired teachers are very by the book, while ther older teachers are set in thier ways. When you have "new" teacher who's in thier late 20's early 30's, they are more willing to take risks.
post #20 of 20
I concur that it's more about the person than the age. My two best instructors in high school were one on the verge of retirement and one fresh out of college (who later married one of her former students - he approached her, a year or two after grad) They both were wonderful educators, for whom I had the utmost respect and I truly learned from them, not just my subjects, but about learning.

Now, as a returning college student (that's Uni for you UK folks) I will tell you that the age thing has completely gone out the window for me. I am taking a Chem course that emphasizes "peer-led" learning, and the "peer" instructors are several years my junior. I'm quite positive my professor - the Chem Dept Chair - is within two or three years of me. And it matters not a whit to me!!! I am learning from them, regardless of their age, in search of my own goals.
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