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Old 08-25-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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I should have seen the writing on the wall during my teacher prep courses: Remarks about my gray hair, remarks about being mistaken for a classroom "granny," and endless trouble finding a cooperating teacher -- 3 in a row said I was "too old" and made them uncomfortable since they were younger (as little as 1 year younger, but what the heck).

I was 46 during my student teaching term. I had two parents object that I was "too old" to be a student teacher -- parents who were in and out of jail the whole time for various crimes. My cooperating teacher called me "Granny" to my face and told the students to call me that, too.

I have had only two interviews in the past 3 years. In one, the principal said she "preferred" to hire new grads. I pointed out that I was a new grad. Then she refined her remark: "I like to hire YOUNG WOMEN. My 'babies.'"

The other principal just said flat-out that I was too old to keep up with young children. Absurd; they are the ones falling asleep in class, not the teacher! And he termed me "an old gray mare."

I went to the assistant superintendent in our district and said I felt there was a bias against older applicants. I remarked that my hair seemed to be getting much more attention than my grades and my abilities. His advice was to dye my hair. "How badly do you want to teach?"

When I tried to go to the job fair this year -- advertised as far away as 600 miles -- I was BLOCKED by the district. "New grads only," they said. Graduated within the past 5 years and never held a teaching job. "That's me," I said. But they refused to give me a "ticket" to get in the door. TOO OLD. "You don't want to take a YOUNG PERSON'S JOB, do you?"

I give up.


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I would think that if people were as blunt
Old 08-25-2009, 07:16 PM
 
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as you've described, you'd have a case for age discrimination. I hope that you have exaggerated some of this. I find it hard to believe that people are repeatedly that rude to you--46 is not that old. (I am almost 45 now.) I was 40 when I was hired for the first time. I actually felt people treated me better. I found that people assumed I was more experienced than I actually was at that time.

It probably helped that I was going into SpEd but I really don't know that it mattered that much.

Good luck. Don't give up. You will just have to find that one person who values your whole life experiences.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:30 PM
 
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I had an intern last semester that is older than my parents. I think he is maybe 65. Oh well. He is student teaching now, and I have heard the comments. People are rude. With that being said, I guess he just takes it as normal. He is 60 freakin 5!!!! It is a surprise. I just don't understand why anyone would see 46 as that old. Weird. Anyway... you'll have to prove yourself like anyone else that isn't the average applicant.

Dye your hair. Why not? Show them the energy you have by the way you present yourself! Smile a lot! Update your outfit. I don't really know what to tell you. My intern makes up for his age by using it to his advantage. He is MUCH wiser than than those that are 22 and right out of college. He was police officer, fedex carrier, and a marine.

Seriously? 46? People go into teaching all the time after their kids go to college. I had a ton 35-45 year olds in my ed classes.
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Don't give up!
Old 08-26-2009, 08:22 AM
 
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Wow! Such blatant age discrimination would be worth reporting.


I'm 45, and have been teaching public school for 6 years. At 39 I was one of the older students in my credentialing program, but not the oldest. My hair isn't gray, and I continue the good habits of regular exercise, healthful diet, and enough rest that I developed in my youth. No one has ever questioned my ability to keep up with students or come close to calling me granny.

I did go through a long and frustrating job search between my first teaching job, and my current one. I thought very hard about how I was presenting myself on paper and in person, as well as, would I wanted and needed from perspective employers.

What has been happening to you is wrong. However, you might want to consider how you might be presenting yourself. Are you dressing frumpy--socks and sandal, masculine baggy t-shirts, baggy skirts, and the like? Do you exercise regularly? Do you have a flattering hair style? Do you appear healthy and are you healthy? What do you need to do to get what you want and need?
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:44 AM
 
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Ignore blueheron. Excercising and eating healthy is a personal decision that may be good for your personal well-being, but should have nothing to do with getting a job. Furthermore, dressing like a professional is just good advice, regardless of age.

The best teacher at a school I worked for a few years ago began teaching as a second career. She was in her fifties and looked very grandmotherly, and had five years teaching experience. In that five years, she established a reputation as being an outstanding teacher. Everyone wanted their child in her class.

The next time you are confronted with such blantant agism, bluff and non-aggressively (is that a word?) threaten them with an age discrimination lawsuit. Consider joining a union and consulting with their attorney if need be.


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Old 08-31-2009, 09:03 AM
 
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Wow. You know there are stories sometimes about older people getting degrees. A few months back I heard about a woman who was 96!!!! getting her high school diploma. I didn't know her at ALL--but I was incredibly proud. You are never too old to get an education--so KUDOS TO YOU FOR FACING THE ODDS. I'm proud.
Secondly, don't sacrifice who you are just because someone said 'how bad do you want the job'. I personally, would love the history and life experience a middle-aged (as you--are NOT--old!) or older person. Think of the things you know about first hand that a twenty-something doesn't?? What other information and stories could you share with your kids??? I feel you have an age discrimination case and that is against the law! FIght for your right to teach! Teachers are a necessity always in short supply.

The only quick-solution that may not be quick that I could think of would be to sub. Ask the principals of the various schools to observe your subbing. Then, when openings arrive, apply for them. Often subs are the ones hired. Otherwise, keep trying, keep your head up, think of it as a new challenge that will build your character and consider the triumph you will feel when you win that job! :-) Good luck!!!
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What!!
Old 09-01-2009, 05:15 AM
 
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If only half of this is true, then you have grounds for a legal action. Get moving and don't delay. Do you have evidence, as in witnesses? Or were you alone with these clods?
I started teaching at 44 and have received several rude comments over the years, but nothing to this degree. You are being treated like dirt. Don't stand for it!!
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Not happy to hear it
Old 09-07-2009, 10:37 AM
 
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That doesn't bode well for me either. I have taught in private school and recently got my state credential. I have never faced the things you are talking about, but I haven't been able to find a job yet either. Of course there are no, and I mean no schools hiring elementary teachers in California right now. It makes it difficult to gauge what the climate would be like if there were any actual openings.
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:24 PM
 
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I was older when I started teaching (38). I made sure to say in the interviews that I was experienced working with kids as I had 3 of my own. I also said I wouldn't be leaving on maternity leave as I was done having my children. And lastly, I would know how to engage with parents since I was one myself. I have had 5 interviews in the the 8 years I have taught and got 4 of the jobs. My experience is that the younger teachers are preferred for elementary school, but the more mature ones are preferred for middle and high school.
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Old 09-07-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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I was 42 when I was a student teacher. I have been teaching for 6 years now and my age has never been an issue. This is my second career and was doing other type of work for about 20 years before going back to school and finishing my degree and obtaining my credential.

My age has not been an issue at any job I have applied for. Maybe because I still have completely black hair (blessed with good genes). At my last job the next younger teacher was almost 10 years younger than me. We had 21 and 22 year old teachers and I felt a little funny thinking I was old enough to be their mother. I never told them my age.

Any way, you should report those people who have flat out said you are too old to apply. They should appreciate your experience and not base your ability on your age or the way you look.

Good luck and keep us posted.


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Old 09-12-2009, 05:34 AM
 
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If all these things are true and you have documented dates and comments I would contact a lawyer. Such things should not happen. My guess is there is some organization or lawyer that would take on something like this.

That said, I know teachers who have gone back to school and the age of 48 and 50. Both have teaching jobs.

Don't give up.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:15 AM
 
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I agree with the previous posters. I have 4 years of experience and I had a student teacher myself who was in her 50's ( I think).

Are you only certified in Elementary? Elementary Teachers are a dime a dozen so you may want to consider getting an additional certificate that could help you land a job. ESL, SPecial ED, Reading Specialist
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Old 09-27-2009, 04:45 AM
 
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We have a teacher who was 58 when she got her first teaching job. She was after 57 when she got her BS. She also is a handicap walking with a cane. So do not give up!
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discrimination stinks
Old 09-27-2009, 09:07 AM
 
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I signed out because I don't want coworkers to recognize me and then know me on other posts!

When I was student teaching, the principal walked into the teacher's lunch room and bragged about the young men she had interviewed at an out-of-state job fair. I wondered if I had done something horribly wrong, or if I was invisible.

I was upper 40's when I graduated from college - and got hired in October when a principal needed someone right now. Every interview to get a job closer to home has fallen flat, until I finally quit trying. Yes, I have grey hair and NO, I don't want to dye it, because I'm too lazy for the upkeep, and hate white roots showing. How rude to tell someone to dye her hair! (Grey hair is supposed to signify wisdom...haha)

Yes, I teach elementary, and have wondered it I should have gotten a degree for secondary, but I really can't afford the $ or the time to go back to school.

Ten years later, I am respected as a teacher, and have many parent requests. But when you're the one looking for a job, the cute young ones and especially young men (remember, this is elementary) get hired first. Unfortunately, nondiscrimination is the rarity.

But don't give up! I got hired in October and they like me
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do not let them choose for you
Old 10-04-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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I am so sorry you have had this experience. I am over 46 and have not started my student teaching yet. I am in the world of special ed. my administrators, and parents treat me with alot of respect. It is a second career for me, a calling if you will. There are students who need experienced role models and we have that. You will find your fit. I would get some legal advice from the EDD or the NEA or even your local state attorney.Mrs MMB
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older teacher too
Old 10-05-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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I'm 47, a certified teacher since 2008, and unemployed. I found this site looking for a job. I have had fewer interviews than you as in zero. I can't imagine any school administrator in my city would ever say what has been said to you, and its terrible. I do think age is definitely one factor in the inability to find work in the " full-time" teacher job market. I say one factor because in the huge city I live in teachers are paid a decent salary and the competition for teacher jobs there is Fierce. Also its my opninon in my city if you are not math, science, or special ed forget it. Recently, I gave up too. I have turned my sights to sub teaching full time. Sub teaching, a hateful job, pays well in my city and trust me no body cares what the sub looks like. Maybe you can try that.
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Principal's age may be a factor
Old 02-15-2010, 04:49 AM
 
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I posted on the Job Search Board about this issue. See applicant vs. Principal's age...

I am nearly 50 and am having the same problem. With years of teaching and administration experience, I think that the younger the principal, the more difficult it is to get a job at our age. I now try to find a picture of the principal to see if we are close in age.

I have had some interviews and found that they were with principals close to my age or older. I nearly got a job but it was filled in house as they had to use those who were "destaffed" i.e. those whose positions were eliminated in the past year but under contract.

I am very discouraged but in the meantime I am subbing to let people see that I am energetic "young at heart, body and mind". I am cheering for us all....

P.S. I do dye my hair regularly and I do it for ME!
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:01 AM
 
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Stopped back by -- had forgotten about posting and was interested to see the replies.

I never did get another interview, or, of course a job teaching elementary school.

I did go speak again with the "Head Shed" people -- and got nowhere. This isn't a district that particularly cares about breaking the law -- something I didn't mention is that every time I interviewed, the principals and teachers in the room to interview me would pray before starting. I found it quite amazing and appalling. PUBLIC school is not the place for that.

I saw an attorney and he felt that it would be an uphill battle and very unlikely to succeed. It isn't something people seem to care about here, and maybe elsewhere, too. This is the a city where the City Manager and the Council go out of their way to discourage the elderly from moving here, saying that they want it to be a "young town," not a retirement center.

I was lucky that I was able to go back AGAIN and try AGAIN to get the training I needed to sit for a credentialing exam in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. I work 3 12-hour shifts and started at $65,000. Wonderful, but I wanted to teach elementary school. I still apply, but never get called. I also take CEUs to stay as fresh as I can, but as the years pass, it all just seems less and less likely.

By the way, our district has been rattled by dozens of cases of improper behavior by the YOUNG teachers towards their students. Not everything makes national news, but there's some sort of epidemic of improper, immature behavior going on in too many districts. But they don't budge from their interest in hiring "only young people."

Oh well.
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Age Discrimination
Old 04-25-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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I certainly understand how you feel....check it out.....http://edjobsforelders.blogspot.com
Thanks, scottishgirl
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Old 11-05-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Age discrimination at its height I was 46 when I student taught and had no problems being hired. Of course I teach in an urban school district.
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Age discrimination
Old 06-15-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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Regarding the job fair- You should go anyway. Tell them you forgot or lost your ticket. If they say your name isn't on the list, tell them "Mr/Ms so and so" said they sent it in and gave you a ticket. Look, I've driven all this way. Can you help me out? They will probably let you in.

Second suggestion: Don't waste any more time on this district. Since you found a different position- use your love for working with kids to volunteer at a school, or work with a church group; volunteer to help scouts, etc. Most student groups welcome help.
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Seek an attorney
Old 12-24-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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Wow, sounds like you definitely have an age discrimination case. Schools are supposed to be an EOE. True, some principals may want to hire young grads like myself, but they CANNOT make it known to a applicants face. Just like someone with a disability, employers may not want to hire someone, but cannot make it known. The people you speak of can think youre too old, but cannot tell you that and reject you as they have. I know of several teachers I have ran across subbing that are older, not young grads. I would seek the opinion of an attorney, because the admin is just wrong to tell you that.
Look at it this way, you paid money to get your degree, so did the administrators. They have no right to mock, laugh, or make snide remarks at you and make it obvious they wont hire you due to your age. Don't let them get away with it. At the least, go to the school board or call the local tv network and maybe expose the discrimination, IF you truly plan on giving up!
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Old 04-29-2017, 09:06 PM
 
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I, too, should have seen the writing on the wall.

Let me go back a bit. I returned to teaching in 2004 after a ~20 year hiatus in the financial services industry. In 2005, I landed a job in my current district. Age: 53. Got my middle school special ed job during the hiring rush just before school started and proved to be quite capable, impressed my hiring principal and was there for 5 years. During my first year, my principal said to me, "I think you should go into administration. I think you'd be great." So, in the fall of 2006, I, too, was the oldest in my graduate classes. I started my second masters degree when I was 54, finished when I was 60 with ~20 years of teaching experience. I graduated in 2012 b/c I had to take time off for chemotherapy/cancer treatment. Despite all, I graduated magna cum laude and looked forward to becoming a leader; I, too, thought my experiences and strong academic background, made me a great candidate.

Fast forward: it's April, 2017. I apply for positions without any dates on my resume, don't attach my teaching certs, only my graduate certs and records. I appear to be in my 40s, according to the documentation they see. I get interviews and when I walk around the corner or into the office, the surprise on their faces is... is the word palpable? They look down at their paperwork, shuffle a few pages, (I presume to ask how this could happen...) politely interview me and when I ask about any concerns they might have, they politely say..."Well, we're concerned about fit." (Really? My accomplishments aren't worthy enough to earn me the respect of your teachers? What kind of staff do you have? What kind of organization do you lead? ..... Maybe... they don't lead... hmmm... I'd never really thought of that....)

So. I have spent $30k on a degree I'll never use, I'm still paying for, and am going to end up retiring b/c I can't get a job out of the classroom as a coach or a supervisor or a vp. Anyone who looks at my resume says... And why don't you have position? And I say... I don't know... you tell me....

For the record, as far as I know, the federal age discrimination law only applies to people being terminated. It doesn't apply to hiring situations.

In closing, I know that it's easy to say, "Hang in there, don't give up, sub,etc.' but it is so demoralizing to have a 35/40 year old look down their nose at you over and over again. And for the record, I went back to get a tech cert just to support the fact that I'm as tech savvy as I say I am and probably know as much if not more than the next 40 year old and WAY more savvy than 90% of the people interviewing me. Another $10 grand down the drain....

I'm not sure where your next road is, or how you'll find it. but I wish you heartfelt good luck. I'm looking for my next road and I hope it comes soon, b/c I'm tired of being judged for what the interviewers THINK they know about me and aren't open minded enough to actually find out.
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