Old versus new teachers


Fresh out of university a teacher starts their work with the newest and the most up to date information in their field.

Then 20 years later, that same teacher holds on to his teaching methods because he wants to believe the notion that his university degree still has the same value. I guess we need to rethink how we view education on a whole. Why are we not developing ourselves throughout our lives right until we die?

It is a touchy subject for those of us who sell and push education as a business. We honestly believe it is the all end all. The most important job is to mold young minds, to help them find their full potential. Of course we do, we have to believe it or how can we go to school everyday and teach your children outdated information without the fallacy that what we are doing is correct on some level.

However, new teachers know better. Education like the times are changing.  Much like languages, they are changing, growing, evolving… The world is getting smaller, ideas are being shared, technologies becoming the norm and unfortunately often the education systems of the world are lagging behind.

In some countries where the government changes every four years, the Ministry of Education knows they will not have enough time to reform an old system. If they do, the first thing his predecessor will do is change it back. Sadly such are politics, and the easiest way to win an election, is in the middle of an adjustment period, offer to set things back. (Funny how human nature is always to attack in such a fashion- resisting change)

I can image how it feels being a senior teacher, because I am over forty, if also a new teacher.

I am often looking at the values I grew up with and shaking my head at the lack of drive in young folks, the lack of risk taking, and lack of adventure. I find the next generations full of fear, worrying far before their time about money and the future. I see petrified people living at home too long, parents giving them a far too cozy life, and why wouldn’t they want to stay until their thirties?

This generation always seem ill with a multitude of different ailments, full of excuses and answers to every question. I wonder if parents and the medical system have created a medication dependant generation, taking pills for every runny nose, they are dependant on their lazy down time to ‘recover from flu’ and don’t have the ‘chazak’ or inner strength that pushes them up. Are they made from weaker stalk? Do they ever roll with the punches like those natures of the forty somethings who have found success?

It would be easy for me to leave it at that. Feeling a superiority and thinking that something is missing from the generations below. However, take a closer look, and you will find an inner strength that is something to admire. They give themselves value, they refuse to work on holidays because their families are the most important. They have self worth and boundaries, taught by my generation I might add, and they know who they are and they refuse to give it up for anyone or anything as trivial as money. Maybe happiness, we are pushing the happiness factor strongly in my generation, but their ability to value their time and selves is notable.

I know what it feels like to plug away at a job to survive. I know how many years I lost by only focussing on saving and scrimping. When looking back it all seems a blur, working two- three jobs, morning until night, fitting in my social and gym time. I didn’t want to hear; go back to school and learn new skills, I was in the middle of it, trying to get ahead, saving for a house, a vacation, a new car, a new neighbourhood… I felt I have been working so hard to get where I am, lucky to make enough money, I just needed to keep doing what I was doing, and not risk it all on myself. I didn’t grow during this time. I did not develop who I am. I was stagnant and pushing forward; head down, looking to the pavement, going in one direction.

I am sure teachers in my age group feel the same way. Twenty years of teaching students, often the same curriculum, the same desks, and in the same formations. I bet they think they have them all pegged. They have this down. What I mean is why wouldn’t they feel this way. They are experts with twenty years of experience teaching our snot nosed kids while we are at work.

I know that when I was working, I did not worry about innovative ways to make business better, or learning technology on how to make barcodes better or more efficient. I took the training they offered and called it a day.

My point… the children are changing. It is time for older teachers to learn how to teach and interact more effectively with these kids because they are so very smart, way smarter than past generations. They are born with devices in hand, with information on anything they can imagine. Perhaps the teachers of the future will be guides through all the answers, teaching how to ask the right questions, and encouraging students to grow in many different directions.

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