How Old is Too Old to Teach? - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/06/07 - Apple Springs

How Old is Too Old to Teach?

by Ramonica R. Jones

The new school year is now in session, but many districts are still trying to fill vacancies with qualified instructors. Some administrators are hiring non-teachers for their classrooms, while others are recruiting retirees. Although some younger educators dislike this idea, veteran educator George Schaade said talent, not age, determines a teacher's success.

"There's a particular characteristic that all teachers have to have - whether they're new teachers or old teachers - and that's patience," said the Apple Springs I.S.D. history teacher. "I have to remind myself every day that what I have in front of me are children, and children haven't learned the social skills that all the rest of us have."

And newer teachers like Cheri Coleman said older teachers are a great resource for the less experienced educator.

"I believe that our educators who have been in education for a long time have a lot to offer," said the 3rd grade reading teacher. "They have a lot of wisdom and I do believe that we can gleam from that wisdom and learn things as new teachers."

And Schaade agrees, but at 59, he realizes there will come a time when he'll have to erase his chalkboard for the last time. Until then, he said there is enough room for everyone who has a heart for children.

"The younger teachers, I love to see them come in because that's what they bring," Schaade said. "They bring the new ideas and the older teachers have old ideas [that] still work too."

This school year marks Schaade's 31st anniversary as a teacher, but he said he still has a few good years left in the classroom.

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