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"older" beginner teacher

mme NPB

Full Member
I am a mom who is going into teaching(substitute for now)after being at home with my kids for the last 13 years. I got my education degree just prior to starting my family and have never taught in a classroom. I am wondering if there are any stories similar to mine, people starting a teaching career later in life,especially after raising a family,and what were your experiences?Does your maturity(i.e 40's)help or hinder you?


new "old" teacher

Your title intriqued me because I called myself the newest "old" teacher in my school for years. I went back to school when I was forty, and my son was in grade one. I finished my mastered and got my first teaching job at 43. I don't know your work history, but mine was long and impressive. I had been a manager in the computer industry for 14 years. I don't know if I was hired quickly because of that business experience or because I was older. I remember that the first principal hired me because he felt I could deal with tough parents. My first job was as a fifth grade teacher in a fairly snobbish community.

Many of my friends in teaching have a story like yours, and they done well. Whereas I got my teaching degree in my forties (I had MBA), you and my friends earned yours when you were younger. These friends have all transitioned into teaching nicely.

Parents won't know you're new and I always was shaky about that. That's why I called myself the oldest "new" teacher. The kids won't know you're new either. Wisdom from age does help enormously. I think experience with your own children is priceless. However, the job is difficult. Teaching has changed enormously within the 7 years I've taught. The workload is endless and the kids are demanding. I don't need to say anymore than look at the "Vent" posts, these are all realistic snapshots of teacher lives. You aren't able to leave when the bell rings at the end of the day. If you do, then you have a bag of work to get to at home. I suppose like any job it has its pluses and minuses. However, age doesn't factor inot those pluses and minuses. Good luck.

mme NPB

Full Member
"older" new teacher

Yes, I agree that the vent posts show a very realistic view of teaching! My husband has taught for many years and so I too have a realistic view of what I am in for. I also feel that having raised your own children can help give perspective and empathy when dealing with parents and students.I have been spending a fair bit of time recently volunteering in various classrooms and feel more and more this is where I want to be.So I am curious to know how you like teaching and how does it compare to your previous career?


compare and contrast

What a good question, how does teacher compare with an earlier career. Well I'm older and have responsibilites now so my current opinion may be due to loss of energy. The first four months of the year are relentless--the work never ends. You are at it all day, take it home, do it over the weekend, and you're still never done. Because you're with kids you can't sit and "do" whatever testing, etc. you need to do one-on-one and that's absolutely expected. I find it very hard.

I think I'm a good teacher and I think I make some impact, but it's often thankless (not always). Most of the time, I need to give myself the positive feedback that motivates. You juggle dozens of real problems every day (a child's depression, truancy, learning disabilities, etc.), and you know you're making a positive impact.

I'm used to it now, but it took years to get used to planning bathroom breaks around your break.

I love the vacations and think that the January to June timeframe is reasonable. There are frequent breaks and opportunities to recharge.

I hope I don't sound too negative. Truthfully, I often miss being with adults, getting positive feedback from my work, and feeling part of a team. As a teacher, I work in isolation. However, spending time with my son during vacations is the onlr reward I need to call teaching the best profession for me at this point in time.

mme NPB

Full Member
Sounds alot like being a parent! Coming from the perspective of being at home with kids all day, as well as doing part-time work that required me to work alone a lot of the time, working in the busy, social school environment seems very appealing!In this district all the teachers work in teams at each grade level, so you do have that team support.As far as feeling that it seems thankless at times, I would have to agree and yet again it is like parenting:you may not get the thanks right away, but the seed has still been planted.

Gina TX

Senior Member
Me too

I worked with the Dept. of Human Services for 12 years, finally went back to school and got my teaching degree at 38. I honestly had a hard time finding a job, but our district is having problems. I was just hired this semester and I will be 39 next week. I think that while my experience in my previous career has helped some, what has helped me most is that I have raised kids. I am teaching 6th grade and my kids are 18 and 13 and two step kids 14 and 15. I think that made a difference for me. The kids don't know you're new and that is a plus. Also, after I was hired I found out by some of the teachers that were on the hiring committee that part of the reason they chose me was because of having experience as a parent and because of my job experience. I thought it would be hard to find a job competing agains all the kids that just graduated from college, but I have come to find out that having some experience behind you definately helps. I can tell you that when I was 22 (the age of the kids just graduating from college) there is no way I could have handled the kids in my classroom.

Good luck to you. Don't let the age thing scare you. I definately feel like it's a benefit.

mme NPB

Full Member
Thanks for the encouragement.I do feel any life experience, particularly with kids, is an asset.And I don't think at age 22 I could have handled some of the classes I've heard and read about(on this site)either! I was wondering how you are feeling now that you have been teaching for a few weeks.Are things beginning to shape up the way you'd like?

Gina TX

Senior Member
Are they shaping up? Hard question. Some days yes. Some days I feel like I'm back at square one. I really think I'm at a difficult age level though. I think (could be way off though) that younger kids or even high school kids would have adapted to the change of teachers mid term easier. I can definately say it's better. I think it will take some of them a bit longer to come around. Some might not. I will never live up to the legend of the teacher who left. That's ok, I'm not her. Next year I think will be much better. Starting off from the beginning. I really think my biggest problem was coming in mid year. In the end though, even when I come home so exhausted I could just collapse, I'm very happy. I really love teaching. I know everyone says it's so much paper work, but after working for the government paper work is nothing to me. My coworkers are great. Now if the kids would just behave I'd have it made, lol.


New Member
Timeless Teachers

I went to school for the first time at age 35. I had a kindergartner and a third grader. My third grader is now 22 and my kindergartner will graduate high school this year. Teaching allowed me to be with my kids on Christmas Break, when other moms were searching for daycare. I had Thanksgiving, and a Spring vacation, all without worrying about what to do with my kids. It was wonderful!!

Being a mom, and having had other jobs prior to teaching had brought incredible insight into my work. I am much more compassionate than many other teachers, especially those without children of their own. I look at the children in my class and say, would I want my child treated with anything less than love, kindness and forgiveness? You will be great for all of your life's experiences.



Full Member
teaching as second career

I made the transition from full fledged highly paid producer to beginner teachers pay 3 years ago and I don't regret it. I did feel a little snubbed at the beginning by fellow teachers because I don't have a teaching degree (but I did get certified). I went and took courses up the gazoo in elementary ed. I took my career change seriously. I think others felt they were better than me because they had the degree. I resented that a little at the beginning. I felt I was doing my part by taking extra courses (in FL all you need is to pass this test which was a breeze). I do miss working with adults at times and I hate to say this but working with just women is NOT easy. I am a woman too, but I have to say we are pretty catty. I just don't remember complaining about half of the things some of these women complain about when I worked elsewhere.

Foolish Sage

Is 56 too old to begin a teaching career?

I know fifty-six sounds ancient, but not to me. Self Denial? Perhaps. ---- Anyhow, I am a business professional, retired military, and an adjunct college professor (10 years) often teaching workloads equivalent to the full time professors. At fifty-six, I will be financially set where I could afford to either pursue full time college instruction, or in the K-12 market. I had always wanted to teach in the schools versus colleges, but could not afford to financially do so. With retirement as a supplement, I will be able to do support my family. Can anyone answer what the prospects would be for an old 56 year old male geezer to enter this market. Thanks. Signed, the Foolish Sage


Senior Member
I'm a 2nd career teacher too. I got certified in 1983, but didn't get a job in education at the time. I kept getting employment in other areas, but finally succombed to letting my dad help me get on here (versus Atlanta area). I have been at it 11 years now! I also waited until I was "older" to begin a family so not only is my job sucking my energy dry, my kids keep me hopping! I think if you really want to get in teaching and can get a job, you should go for it. Your maturity and life experience will serve you well. Having kids of your own and all will help too.


move to Cali .....maybe

That's right. Move to California. I am 36 yrs old and starting my credential at UCR. The amount of openings ( especially science) in the local districts is almost staggering. Probably has something to do with the housing boom. Everything east of L.A. just exploded in growth the last 5-10 years. Getting a job should be easier than most other locations in the U.S. ;However, if you don’t live here already the housing price can be staggering as well. Which, might be another reason California has a teaching shortage. Even with beginning salaries starting in the low $40,000s , you could not afford to live in the ghetto here. Good luck!


40 Plus

Well... I am 45 years old.. and in my 2nd year of college to become a teacher. I have worked as an Administrative Assistant for over 14 years now, and to tell you the truth I can't wait to have the chance to teach! I just take one day at a time to get through school. I work all day, and go to school at night. I only go to school 1/2 time so it will take me longer to achieve my goal.

I hope to get my degree in Elementary Education by the time I am 48 and begin teaching right away.

I pray for strength every day............

mme NPB

Full Member
Good for you!

If teaching is what you want to do, then it will be worth the time spent getting there. I read a book recently called Ms. Moffat's First Year and it was about a woman in her early forties, also in an executive admin. position who had long harboured a desire to teach. She went the alternative route, that is, right into a classroom while going to masters level classes at night. The book follows her in her first year, and in spite of the challenges she sticks with it since it is something she has always wanted to do.
There are many people who suceesfully change careers later in life and if it is what you want, best of luck!


Junior Member
The plus side is that parents tend to show a bit more respect to older teachers than to young ones. Even the younger, experienced ones will get the snide comments from parents (particularly if the teachers are child-less) They don't think they're qualified to teach at all.

I finished up an alternative certification program 2 years ago. More than half of the people in my cohort were older (early 40s-50) and beginning second careers. In all honesty, they had a FAR easier time finding jobs than the others in the program, including myself.

So I think maturity helps and tends to hide the lack of experience in the classroom!


56 not too old

I am starting my first year of teaching and I am 54. There are a few other baby boomers still teaching in my school and it sure is nice to see mature people. The age factor has bothered me a bit and I do think there is some age discrimmination out there when it comes to being granted an interview. I live in an area where there are few teaching jobs. MOre than age, I think having experience ( experience specific to the grade level that you want to teach) is the ticket in to a job. I subbed for three years and tried to maintain my optimism and enthusiasm each time I walked through the school doors. It was hard to stay optimistic and I hadto constantly tell myself that I could do this job. Subbing allowed me to get to know principals and other teachers and to always project myself as capable and competent. I will be teaching second grade and I am a white female. Elementary schools like to try to hire more males and people of color so as to be more diverse. Also, teaching in secondary areas of math, science and special education would be a good bet since those are the shortage areas in most parts of the country. Good luck with your endeavor and if your heart tells you that this is where your journey is leading you , then you have to follow it.


Junior Member
older new teacher

I am a registered nurse who worked in icu's for almost 15 years. I left the field b/c of a disability that made it virtually impossible to continue nursing. I went back to school and got my degree at 40 and here I am 15 years later working as a 1st grade teacher. I think that having gone into teaching later in life, my priorities were different. I am very dedicated to what I do, meaning - I feel like I have no life from Sept. till June! I am happy that I did this, but still haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up!! Heh-heh!


Senior Member
older too...

I always wanted to teach, but my path was not direct and quite rocky...totally my own fault!!! Anyway, my husband got his doctorate in 2000 and I went back to school in August 2001, when our daughter was about a year old. I have encountered very few pitfalls that I didn't already forsee and I still love going to work every single day (okay, it's only been 2+ years...). Started my career at 36...
When my hubby was in grad school, I supported us by working in health care...registration/admitting clerk, unit secretary, business office rep, registration supervisor. I worked for one fantastic hospital and a couple of okay ones. I loved the field, but had to go back to school for any hope of advancement. At the end of the day, I loved teaching more and here I am. I do wish I'd started sooner; I'm ready to go to grad school already and am still too broke from before!!!:p

Mrs. Sub

New Member
I just found this site, and just read this post.
I am 43 years old, and will be starting a multiple subject credentials program this fall. I hope to start teaching next fall. I graduated with a MA (not in education), but decided to stay home with my four kids. That was 17 years ago. I have volunteered in many classrooms, and have been subbing for a few months. I know I want to teach, and am excited about starting. There are times when I think that I'm 20 years behind, or I could have had 20 years under my belt by now. But I do not have any regrets. I have a great life, and had I taken a different path, who knows what things would be like now. The only concern I have is that, for 17 years, I've been available around the clock for anything my kids needed. That will end once I start working. What would I do if my kids needed me to do something, but I had a meeting? What about if one of my kids got sick? (Get a sub?) But I guess that's the $64,000 question for working moms. Now that all my kids are in school - youngest is in first grade - I have to do something worthwhile during the day. I am looking forward to this new chapter in my life.


New Member
To the 53 year old....

I am 49 and went back to school so that I could teach secondary math and have had 3 job offers. I have also had experiences (two) where without a doubt the interviewees had no interest in me because of my age. But there are plenty of people out there smart enough to hire an experienced older person. Go for it!


racing mom

HI Mojo
I too am in my 40's and looking for a career change. I have always been interested in teaching but found other careers to redirect me. I was a successful actress for 10 years and then a successful entrepreneur in sales. I want to make a bigger impact in the world and have a career with a steady paycheck. I live in FL as well. I have a bachelors in theater, not a traditional teaching course. I'm not sure what grade I would like to teach or what subject. I am intrigued by becomng a speech teach. How is the need for teachers in FL? Also, do you find that a masters makes a difference. I am nervous about this change, yet it speaks to me. My son is going into 1st grade and my husband travels a lot. I felt this would be a good fit for my family. I also read that some teachers complain about the amount of work they bring home. I am looking to simplify my life and lower the stress. Is teaching the wrong way to go? I know that "no" career is all easy going, but I don't need more stress and more time taken away from family. Your feedback would be appreciated.


Full Member
Another (almost) 56 year old

I'll be 56 in a few weeks, and I'm teaching fourth grade this fall for the first time. I got my teaching degree in 1972, taught one year, then married an AF officer and started moving. I was way too young to teach. Now, after raising two boys and having my own business for many years, I feel mature enough! I like kids (that's important), have a good principal, and a wonderful team of teachers. Most of all, a positive attitude. Yes, maybe I'm crazy, but I'm excited about my new career.


older "new" teacher

I am glad to see that so many people have had great success with going back to school and starting a second career in teaching!! I on the other hand have not had such luck. I am 43 and completed my El Ed degree last fall. I have been substitute teaching since and went through the lengthy hiring process in my district. I was not offered a position and other teachers were shocked. The rumor seems to be that my age is not a plus. Any suggestions on how to even the playing field? I was top of my class and recv several recommendations from principals.


Senior Member
Understand all the angles

about going into teaching. Many older people (and I am one) going into teaching don't realize they will lose their S.S. the minute they step into a classroom. If you teach in any of these 14 states:

I never knew about this law before I started teaching.