It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Too OLD to Teach?

I was reading a friend’s blog today, and my mind captured a thought. Of course, it was the eve of my birthday, where getting older is always on one’s mind anyway.

Frank, my friend, teaches emotionally/behaviorally disordered students in high school (that’s a TOUGH population). But he is good at it, as evidenced by his students and their regard for him that goes on into life after public schoool.

He asked his students to lay out the qualities of the ideal teacher, and what they shared was pretty good. One student suggested that teachers should not be allowed to teach any more when then become “too old.”  Frank suggested that he would be on the streets under that stipulation (he’s in his late fifties), and the student granted him a “special” license to continue teaching.

What do kids mean by “too old?” I think they’re talking more about attitude than actual age, a attitude that is critical of young people, or tends to throw all youngsters into one big bag labeled “trouble.” They can pick up on that attitude pronto.

Question: Would a person who would get bent out of shape from such a statement from a young person actually be demonstrating their own shortness of vision going in the OTHER direction?

My wife’s father was an exception. Young people in his church loved him, so much that, on any given weekend, they went by his house to visit and play dominos with him and his wife. They did it because they wanted to. Of course, he started a relationship with all of them when they were in my wife’s 4&5-year old Sunday School class. It grew from there.

Age has nothing to do with the condition Zig Ziglar calls “Hardening of the Attitudes;” it can happen anywhere and anytime. Then there are other “conditions” like insensitivity, indifference, apathy and rigidity … things that can sour the Milk of Human Kindness.

But, of course, those conditions have never been limited by age in either direction.  

December 13, 2006 - Posted by | Educators, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem

1 Comment »

  1. I agree with you, “too old” in this context is the perception of attitude, not physical age. Of course one would think that the older the teacher the wiser the teacher should be. As you stated, this depends on the person, are they growing as they grow older or are they stuck in their attitudes and perceptions?


    Comment by tobeme | December 13, 2006 | Reply

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