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young teacher


nikki in ca

I am a very young teacher. I am 22, and graduated from college this past May. I do love my job. I teach first grade at a private school. But I find that other teachers and parents just don't take me seriously sometimes. With the teachers, I find I have to be so careful what I say cause just an innocent comment can sometimes make them feel old. I was talking to another young teacher and we were talking about where we went to high school. I graduated in 2001, and I guess it made the older teachers uncomfortable. Some of the older teachers will refer to me as "young lady".
I also look VERY young. Most people guess that I am 16 or 17. Some parents have asked me if I went to college. I guess they assume by my youthful look that I am not old enough to be a college graduate. They also question a lot of what I do, and some mention that since I'm so young and not a parent that I wouldn't know how to relate to something about their child. I find that so offensive. I know I am young and inexperienced, but I do think I'm a good teacher. I just wish I was older like 30 so people would take me more seriously. I feel like I am still treated like a teenager.


don't take it personal

In my experience, even if you are 30, there will still be parents on your case and you will still have colleagues that are older than you. I am 35 and have been teaching for 8 years. I look fairly young for my age and still have parents treating me like I am new at this. I also don't have any children of my own yet, so I continue to hear about how one can't understand if they don't have children. Don't get frustrated, I'm sure you are a great teacher and will only get better. The best thing to do is show all of them how great you are! Good luck!


Been thru this!

When I graduated, I was young. I was 21. Then I got a job straight away for 12 months teaching the OLDEST class in the elementary school. I had 33 kids in the class and I was only 9 years older than some of my students.
It was sooooo hard as I hadn't much clue as to how to do anything. But the Headmaster took a chance with me, I toughened up asap and tried my best in every way. I can't imagine what the parents in this community must have thought of me- but I think I was oblibious-- and naive--- (which actually might have helped :) ) I will never forget that first year out on my own, it was huge.
BUT you know, I put myself OUT THERE. Did all I could and worked hard. If you do the same, you will gain the respect of staff and parents and listen and care for those children and you'll have them eating out of your hand. Don't forget to sing to them lots :)
My advice also would be-- to stay APPROACHABLE- this year especially- to parents that is-- as hard as it can be. This shows that you have confidence in yourself and you must ooze this so that parents can see you're in charge (even if you feel like you're faking it!!).
I hope I have helped you. GOOD LUCK! :)


Senior Member
don't worry you will get old

Don't worry before you know it you will be the oldest one on staff and you will ask yourself how that happened. :o) That may seem impossible to you right now but it is very possible.

I was the youngest on my staff for years. I am not the oldest now, but I am the teacher with the most teaching experience. I too taught the oldest kids in elementary and was only 9 or 10 years older --- but now we are both middle-aged together. (And frankly, many of those former students look much older than I do. hehehe) Now I teach their children and I love it!

Funny thing is though, that unlike you I never saw age as a factor in my dealings with other teachers. I found that there really wasn't much of a difference in people and to me everybody from about 20 to 60 seemed to be the same age. Now that I am over 50 I still find the same thing. We are colleagues and age doesn't matter.

So don't worry about talking about when you graduated --- we aren't offended and we aren't jealous, we were your age once too. Mostly we just understand how hard first year teachers are working and how exhausted you are --- there is a lot to figure out the first couple of years.

As for the parents --- well sometimes that does take time. Make sure you dress and act like the teacher and not the teenager you are mistaken for, look them straight in the eye and just tell them what you have to say. As for the debate about not having children influencing your abilities as a teacher --- that debate will go on forever. There simply is no one answer.

Your post reminded me of something my great aunt said at her 100th birthday party. She was a remarkable lady and a retired school teacher! Anyway, once you live to be 100 most of your peer group has passed away. But her comment was :

"I have always had good friends, but as the years passed and I got older my friends got younger, but I always had friends."