I have a question I'm hoping you can answer: How many older teachers--career changers--really get hired full-time? I am in grad school and was hoping to work into a full-time teaching job. I'm 57. I'm also mom to four kids still at home. However, last week we learned that my husband's work schedule is being changed drastically. Long story short, I have to drop a class this semester, and I'll have to take up to two years longer to finish my master's, given the class rotation my university offers. The idea of becoming a teacher was predicated on getting that master's as quickly as possible, but now, if I'll be 60 when it's done...well, you get my drift. What are really the odds of my being hired as a new teacher at the age of 60, or even 57? Be honest and please let me know your experience and/or what you've seen in your schools and districts. I'm rapidly beginning to think that I need to drop this career goal and move on to something else...
I can only speak from my experience here in the Northeast (where teaching jobs are very scarce and there is an overabundance of teachers) - I am around 40 and have had many interviews, but have yet to get a job and I have been searching for 3 years. I have had people tell me that my resume is great, my experience wonderful, and that I interview well. However, *every* job I have gone for has been given to someone either fresh out of college or under the age of 25. It's not a pay issue, because I would get paid the same as those that they are hiring (I only have private school experience which does not count towards public school placement on the pay scale). It is very frustrating. It's not only myself, but others within my age group that experience this as well. I hope that if you do continue, that you have better luck.
I was 55 when I earned my K-6 certification. I already had both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree (in a different field--I'm a career-changer, too). I needed to relocate in order to find a teaching job after looking for over a year with only two invitations to interview. I believe I was hired only because one of my professors stepped in and acted as a strong reference for me when she heard of my difficulties. One of my teacher-school classmates is exactly my age. She just accepted a $10/hr job as a middle school teacher in a private school after searching for three years for an elementary position.
I know this does not sound encouraging, but I have read on these boards that many older teachers have been able to land full-time jobs. My field--elementary ed--is really flooded right now, but if your certification will be in a high-needs area (HS math and science, and SPED) your age will probably matter less to potential employers. Best of luck to you! The kids are great, the teaching is a fascinating challenge--but the politics of the profession is disgraceful.
got hired. One of the few positive qualities that my district has is its commitment to diversity. She was getting pretty discouraged, but kept on substituting. She did a long term at my school last year, and had just accepted another part-time long term position at my school when she got an offer for a contract position until the end of the year. The position may end, but she will be displaced which will mean that she will get placed.
I hate to say this, but it does seem more difficult for older inexperienced teachers to get job offers. Several of the schools in my area tend to hire young, just-out-of-college teachers. I'm only guessing that the administration thinks they'll be more enthusiastic and energetic. I became a teacher after my youngest was in fourth grade. I didn't even get interviews in the district closest to my home. Like myself, most of the other moms I knew who changed careers found teaching jobs in other districts. I'd definitely try substituting. It does seem to be a good way to get your foot in the door. Good luck!
I'm 59. I drive over 100 miles a day because I can't get a teaching job closer to home. I am sooo tired of juggling meetings, paper work, and that drive with any type of family/community life. I'm too old, over-educated and over qualified. If I was a SPED or ESL teacher, I might have a shot, but I've already decided not to go back to school. I need 2 years to retire and then I'll look for part time work. I don't think I'll sub but who knows? Been there, done that for 8 years, don't think I want to go back to it. I'm sorry this sounds so depressing - BUT, I have a suggestion that got me hired once upon a time when the market was flooded with teachers and I was just finishing up. I subbed, but I also made myself indispensable at the school I wanted to teach in. I volunteered - organized events, became a teacher's helper - anything and everything I could think of. In addition, I convinced them to let me sit in on trainings and inservices so i would know how to implement changes into their classrooms so that when they thought of a good "teacher" they thought of me. Plus - I knew the staff and administrators almost personally. It worked. It's always hardest to say no to someone you know personally. Maybe you could make use of that.
I have been teaching for 7 years and I am now 49 and will turn 50 in January. When I changed careers, I was hired at the school where I did my student teaching. I currently work at a charter school where they don't count the number of years of experience and the pay is not very good, but that's all I could get in So. Cal. I just went through a long process for a job and was not offered the position, the thought of my age is in the back of my head. I don't think I will ever find out the real reason. There are some administrators who think the older teachers make great K teachers because they are more nurturing, etc.
The one thing you have going is that as a new teacher, you would have a beginning teacher salary and all the experience life has given you.
For all of the career changers out there - I was 51 when I was hired as a late hire following a mid-semester graduation, and I was offered a contract for the 2010-11 school year. Yes, I do have a SPED endorsement, which is the thing that got me the job. I have endorsements in the over populated area of social science and language arts. I was fortunate enough to land a job before some of the youngsters, even those youngsters with SPED degrees.
I had several different interviews with different districts, and turned down a couple of positions. I know several younger teachers, when I say younger, I mean by mid to late 20's who cannot get a teaching job even with a masters in their field of study.
It is possible for an "older" person to get a teaching job - it is not easy, but I think most of it is your endorsement areas and how well you interview during the interview process.
I was about 43 when I got my MAT and was looking for a job. I was able to get a job only because I had subbed so much for the previous 3 years. I did start with just 1 section of Kindergarten, a part-time position, but was able to move up to a first grade. It was pretty much who you know. I wasn't even really interviewed. They already knew me and how I had worked with the kids. They had no problems with me when I was in a classroom. When it comes to hiring a person to work with elementary aged children - I have found that principals want someone they know and trust.
I definately think older teachers have a more difficult time finding a job. I graduated in Dec 08 and was hired as a K teacher 8/09. I was 50. I was not the first choice for that position but the person they wanted had already accepted another position. Well, long story short - one month into the year I was asked to take another position as the person they originally wanted in K was now available. The position I was moved to was funded by a grant and has now been eliminated. So - here I am at 51 looking for another job.
I graduated in May of 08. I have had two teaching jobs, one at an alternative school for girls and this past school year, at a charter middle school in a county that is 200 miles from my home. I stayed during the week and traveled home on the weekends. I have certifications in ESE K-12, ELEM K-6, Reading endorsed and ESOL endorsed. I have applications on file with 3 school districts near my home. In two years, I have been invited to interview 4 times. Oh, forgot to mention, I am 46.
Yes, I get extremely discouraged, but I refuse to give up. I want to teach, I love teaching. We have a good 20 years left in us, someone will notice soon. Hang in there..: )
but I do feel that with public education budget cuts, it helps to know someone. I have ESE K-12 certification and reading endorsement K-12. I am in the process of preparing for another certification, Middle grade Intergrated Curriculum. I did not get a position at the school where I completed my student teaching because of nephartism. I have been offered the positions in schools no body wants, an alternative school and a charter school. I took them both because experience was more important to me at the time. I'm optimistic that I will get that dream teaching position.
Yes, I've been wondering the same thing lately. I'm 44 and have been looking for a job the past 2 years. I completed my Alt. Cert., have certificates in EC-4 and ESL, and was a Speech-Language Pathologist in my previous career. I have recently completed a Master's in Early Childhood (since I didn't get hired last school year, I had to do something to make myself more marketable). Well, no one is knocking down my door to hire me, unfortunately.
It is frustrating, but there is no way to prove age discrimination - everyone says "we went a different direction". I am still hopeful and will continue to better myself, so that when I DO get hired, I'll be the best thing they ever found!
Also, it really does seem to be WHO you know - I keep running into that brick wall again and again. Try to make some connections to get hired, if you can!
I got hired immediately in the county I student taught in. It was January. The principal was my age-44. I think older principals (middle aged) understand the value of middle aged teachers. Career switchers bring such value and experience. Younger principals, tend to hire younger.
Just a thought-look at web pages and see if there are pics of princes. The older they are, the MORE they will realize how valuable you are.
I received my teaching degree and teaching license in 2005. I was 39 at the time. I had been a special ed paraprofessional for 6 years before returning to school full-time. I have been looking since for a teaching job with no luck. I can not even get an interview (only 3 face-to-face during the time period). I have done a lot of subbing (well over 200 days), taken professional development classes, taken state teacher tests for add-on areas to my teaching certificate, and have started on my Master's. Yet, none of that has gotten me anywhere. My qualifications are far better than any college graduate yet they get the jobs in my county. It is simply because they are part of what I call 'the good ole boy' network. I don't think it helps that I am in my mid 40's, am not married and don't have any children. Plus I don't know anybody and they don't know me. It's kinda funny that I have all this experience working with children, both in an educational setting and other settings (currently a 3rd grade teacher at my church), practical experience in my field, and life experience yet nobody wants to hire me. One of my student teaching cooperating teachers thinks I was blackballed in my home county because I have applied for 70 different jobs in the schools (teacher, parapro, job coach, etc) and I can not even get an interview. The only job I have had in the schools, other than the parapro, was as a cafeteria monitor in an elementary school. I did that for a half a year and..guess what? It was eliminated as part of budget cuts. I am seriously thinking of forgetting ever being a teacher even though other people have said that I am great at working with children. Problem is, I couldn't find a job in other industries because of age discrimination. So, Barbara, if you lived where I do, you would probably not get a job unless you knew someone or were related to someone in the central office or school board. It think it is sad because older people like us are more settled and, I think, could handle crises better.
Ironic that I ran across this blog after telling my husband I was going to do some "soul searching" over the holidays.
Rejection hurts. I am 47-years-old and earned my BS in Early Childhood Education two years ago. My husband thought I was having a mid life crisis when I decided to return to college and earn a degree - much less in education. He warned me about the politics but had I known then what I know now I would have pursued a degree in healthcare. Obviously, I like the perks of time off but hate the "hunt" of securing a contract. I agree with an earlier post that young principals like young teachers and will keep this in mind when I start looking again in April. In fact, my first placement was a young male principal. I got an interview last year and even a 2nd interview with the superintendent. (This was the district I attended K-12.) May be coincidence but he hired a young single teacher. However, in our state teaching jobs are far and few. Veteran teachers are not retiring even though they are eligible for retirement. Our uncertain economy makes it tough on all of us. Patience is a virtue.
find a job soon. This has always been a problem in education. I went into education 14 years ago at the age of 44. I was lucky at the time because in CA, where I'm teaching, they were reducing class sizes and needed a huge number of teachers. Yet, I couldn't get hired in a district I had worked for as a classroom aide several years earlier. They seemed to only be hiring 30 year old blonds. And this was not just my perception. It was constantly discussed and laughed about.
I do have one problem with your assumptions though. Many of us "older teachers" haven't taught long enough to retire. We aren't just hanging around to keep newer teachers out. I'll be 58 in May, but if I were to retire then, I'd get only $1200 a month. Sorry, but I can't live on that.
I am having the same problem. I have applied on edjoin for at least 30 positions this summer alone. I have a Mild/Moderate Disabilities credential and an M.Ed. I'm 56. I have two adult children one still lives with me. It is so discouraging, what I'm finding is districts are hiring young interns and the state is allowing them to be considered "highly qualified" according to NCLB. I live in California. Another issue here is BCLAD, districts are perferring spanish speaking applicants over non-spanish speaking applicants. My credential has an ELL authorization which is supposed to enable the teacher to teach English Language Learners, and state law requires all students be taught in English. So, now I'm feeling stuck with a hugh amount is student loans and no job.
I taught in severl districts from the age of 25 until I was 49, with about 4 years off (when combined) in between some of my teaching jobs to take care of family. I have five endorsements, including special education. I've taught just about every grade in both general and special education and have an M.Ed. and beyond. Each time I left a job I held a continuing contract and had excellent evaluations. I worked twelve hour days and weekends for years, doing all kinds of extra-curricular work as well. After a few years off I've tried to go back, but I simply can't find a public school job, even in a district where I was twice nominated as "Teacher of the Year"! A friend on the hiring team in one district told me later that they were instructed to look at "highly energetic" (code for "young") teachers with 1-4 years of experience maximum. They have to pay me more due to my placement on the career ladder (experience & education) and in these economic times I am too expensive. I am also considered too old. After all the hard work I am left with nothing at the age of 50. I've had to go through retirement money to pay for Cobra insurance and bills, and I still have student loans for the graduate program I had to take because my state requires a Master's degree within three years (though they don't pay for it like businesses do). Now unemployed, I miss my students but must face the fact that I'll never get back in the classroom. It is discrimination, it is illegal, and it's just the way things are. I wish I could give you a happier story, but it's the truth and it may be better to try something else than substitute forever and then be disappointed.
Yes, there does seem to a hiring bias toward younger teachers. I went back to school and got my credential thinking that I would be bringing something more to the table since I am older. I taught one year on a temporary contract and haven't been able to get another job for the past 5 years in "my" district. The school where I taught just hired someone who played with my daughter when they were little. Ouch.
I would say to keep looking for a teaching position if that is what you want to do. However, I would also say to keep your options open and be willing to work in some other related field. my school district cut over 110 teachers back in 2010. I was cut because I had only been in the district for 2 years. I taught in another district for 7 years before going to that district. But what I really want you to know is this; I am a career changer as well. I went back to school when I was 51, got my MAT degree at age 53 and worked in a teaching related field in the Juvenile court system for a year. Then at the age of 54 (almost 55) I got my first teaching job. But now, I cannot even get an interveiw! But guess what? I'm not giving up. I apply for teaching jobs online almost every day. Of course I have only had one interview. This does not keep me from applying again and again. So I would say not to give up. I hope you're praying for what you want.
I hate to say this but I watch our district constantly hire the younger teachers--last interview I went to the principal wore shorts. Yes, shorts so I figured my interview was a token and when I looked at the salary I found that the person they hired had 1 year experience and was 10 grand cheaper than me. They constantly hire the interns who are bottom of the barrel cheap and you get what you pay for in the classroom--high turnover and low quality. There are a few that are dynamos but not many. I am working in a private school where I get no benefits but I am encourages to teach, have labs and hands on projects and where I am told to teach to mastery and if that means cutting down the amount of info them so be it. I am happy other than the no benefits thing but considering what my friends are going through in public school--I'm good. Do I think I'll get a job back in public school? no.
I wouldn’t wait until April to start looking. I'm 43 and this is my 5th year teaching.
I'm certified in ESL/ESOL(EC-12), Secondary English/Reading, and Early Childhood. My first job out of Teacher School, I was hired in February to replace a teacher who had some . . . . Legal issues. I was not a long term sub, I received a contract. It was 20 miles away but at the time I was thrilled. Plus, coming in with professional experience but no teaching experience, they really didn't have a lot of expectations so I really got to experiment with what I learned and figure out what worked with certain kids. It was scary but ended up being a great experience. I stayed there for 4 years and they really appreciated that I was there to help out.
Last year I had to leave in January because my husband was relocated. I could not find a job for the 2nd semester but I wasn't really available until 2 weeks into the semester, which I feel was my biggest hindrance in being offered a job (my old school would only release me if I helped set up my replacement). BUT, I did run into problems landing a position for the 2011-2012 year. I too applied for any and every position I was qualified for, but didn't get a ton of interviews. I lucked out because my new neighbor happened to be the office manager at the local high school and she was able to get me interviews for a last minute vacancy (another teacher moving) and I was officially hired the Friday before school started for a HS English position. Ironically, my ESL certification, which is a hard to fill position in HS here in Texas, wasn't even a draw. But, as many have said, with politicians cutting education budgets by the trillions, I think all teachers are having a hard time. I'm not ready to concede that age matters because my experience has been that they appreciate my professionalism as a new teacher since most right out of college kids (they are still kids sometimes) are still very reactionary, acting like they did in school when they knew everything - which leads toall sorts of unwanted drama. Believe me, I've seen some real interesting reaction from 20 something teachers in the high schools I've taught in. My first thought was 'grow up! Your acting like the students!'. But in reality, they are at times just 5 years older so what should be expected?!?
But with all t he cuts came a lot more work and unfortunately I think the administrations are taking advantage. I know 5 district around me would only offer contracts to certified teachers who subbed for them the year begfore. Then, several districts are only accepting sub applications from certified teachers. Of course, you only get paid as a non-cert ifued sub, but there were so many applicants - young and old- at the sub meeting t hat I think everyone was having a tought time finding positions.
But I digress -English teachers do ramble don't they!! : )
Seriously,I would strongly recommend looking all year for those middle of the year positions that unfortunately, do open for almost all districts in this politically litigious environment our country is in!!! Good luck!
I agree with Sigh's post. I just retired at age 62 after 35 years at the same school. You're absolutely correct ....the kids are fabulous, the work is challenging and invigorating but the politics are dreadful! The politics, cronyism, back-stabbing and dog-eat-dog behavior are right outside the classroom door. I had enough.....although I had no plans to retire anytime soon, I said "buh bye" and left. If you're looking for a teaching job, be prepared to endure the politics.
When they decided to have an alternative certification system everything changed for teachers who had certification and degrees in education. I have been trying to get a full-time position for almost eight years. I have a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education, many years of experience, and excellent appraisals. In the last few years, I was given a position as a long term substitute, told I would be hired full time at the end of the fiscal year, then told on that day that there was not enough money in the budget for me to receive the contact I had been promised. I was told that I could stay on as a long term sub and that I could get health insurance if I agreed to stay on. This was a year around job that involved me using my car all day. After more than two years of this and with a car with in excess of 92,000 miles (they did reimburse mileage), I was no longer needed. This year, 2011-2012, I was hired for a half day position at $26.00 an hour with no insurance. There were several openings at the close of the school year and I was interviewed by the principal, but knew that my age would keep me from being hired even though there was actual proof of the improvement the children had made in reading. I worked four hours per day, teaching forty children in those four hours. The children were kindergarten through fourth grade and I was expected to have very detailed lesson plans at the start of each week. This planning, of course, was on my own time with no compensation. I also stayed all day on most days, with no pay, to help the children. Sadly, none of this matters. The most difficult part of this was being in a position to see what was NOT going on in the classes where I would go to pick up the children. HUGE chunks of time being wasted with NOTHING going on; total bedlam in several of the classes. Then everyone running around with their hair on fire towards the end of the year because most of the kindergarten kids did not know ANY of the sight words that are required. I stayed EVERY DAY the last nine weeks, as a volunteer, to help these babies get their sight words mastered. During my interview with the principal, he could not say enough good things about the job I had done with the children, BUT, he did not hire me. He has e-mailed me to make sure I will be on the sub list, but that district has some FICA alternative scheme going and one does not even get a few extra quarters added into Social Security. Nothing in the teacher retirement system, and nothing in SS. Just money taken from you and put in some cockamamie plan where if you read the fine print, they can lose your entire investment with their investing decisions and you are just out the money. SO... there is very little chance of being hired if you are much older than 32-35. It just is not going to happen. I would like to be optimistic, but I've seen too much in the US education system to be encouraged. If we were NOT ranked so low in education with the rest of the world, I would not say anything; I would just accept that the party is over, but every single day, in every single school, most of the day is being wasted by too many people who are NOT effective teachers, cannot manage a classroom, and complain throughout the day about how much they dislike teaching while the administration looks the other way and pretends that everyone is doing a great job. If they are, why doesn't anyone know their sight words????
I just completed my fourth interview for HS English in two years. I seem to interview well, and I was congratulated by the principal on making the final six applicants in a pool of 145 that applied! That was hopeful...wasn't it?! Oh, well. I didn't get the job. I guess I will never know. I turned 51 in May and love teaching preschool three half days a week at a private dayschool. I would have loved to have taught in my field: 6th-12th grade English/LA. I guess I'm thinking now that it probably won't happen. I decided to forgo a MA, as I still owe quite a bit on student loans for my BS (graduated 2010). Sigh. Better luck to you!
I just turned 50 and am soooo tired of being passed over for a position by a 22 year old with no experience! I hold dual cert in elementary ed and spec. ed. I taught for almost 10 years in one of the best (and most demanding) districts on the US. I then left to raise my two children. I am now looking to return full-time. I have taught many maternity leaves and last year accepted a job as a special ed aide in the district that I formerly taught in full-time. I have been called for many interviews and even 2nd and 3rd interviews but do not wind up with the job.
Both of my kids were classified and I have sat on both sides of the child study team table. I get it! You would think I would be an outstanding candidate. Guess not. Moving to another state soon. Will try again at the new locale but just not sure if I should seek out a new career at this point. Frustrated, angry and well, my feelings are hurt! I am good at what I do!
I too feel your frustration. I am a 50-year-old dual certified elementary/ spec. Ed teacher, who for the first time in 2010 got her first, shot at a teaching position, after having subbed for seven years. The position was a full year special education leave replacement position, at full teacher’s salary in a city school district. During that year, I received glowing evaluation and high praises from colleges, administrators, parents, and students. What’s more, the students I had, who were not being alternately assessed, all showed improvements in their state test score for the fist time. I never missed a day school, always came in an hour early. The principal would sing my praises. She had me conduct workshops, and would always say, “ I wish I could clone you!” Despite all adulation and noted successes I claimed as a teacher that school year, not to mention, the futile promises from administrators of guaranteed employment the following year, I was only able the following year to secure a long term substitute teacher position with no benefits, and a salary of a $ 100.00 a day. This is the best the district could offer me due to massive cutbacks and layoffs. I foolishly accepted the position not suspecting that I would be working much more, with more students. Instead of class of12 students that had the previous year, I now had thirty- one students. Additionally, I was expected to pay for supplies and books necessary for teaching. I was expected to do that last year as well, except I was being paid a teacher’s salary. I was also asked to create a PPT for back to school night because of my advance technology skills, which I did. Moreover, I was expected to attend back to school night, although I was not to be paid for it. After three months, the teacher I was subbing for returned from her maternity leave, and I was minus four thousand dollars from my bank account after spending monies on tolls and gas, and the very necessary needed school supplies for teaching. Of course the district had another like job line up for me, but I declined and worked locally as a daily substitute teacher on my side of the TZ Bridge where I wouldn't be expected to dole out my own monies, and/ or expected to take on full teaching responsibilities for the same daily pay. Recently, I tried to get a job in a catholic school. They had two positions available one for a special education teacher, and one for a substitute special education teacher. Of course you know which job they offered me, the substitute teaching position. The administrator who interviewed me had the audacity to tell me your IEP’s are the best written I have ever seen, and would like for you to train the new special education teacher (a 22 year old recent graduate), how to write them. I said, “Well why didn’t you hire me for that position/” The HR woman replied, “ You have to pay your dues if you want a full time position here!” Slamming her first down on the desk, it was apparent, she was annoyed with me response, so I said nothing further. Of course, I did not take the substitute position. However this didn’t stop this HR person from leaving several obnoxious messages on my voice mail like, “ You are going to lose a golden opportunity if you do not take this position”. “ I will have to terminate your application, making it even harder for you to get a job here.” Please, do me the favor! Anyway, what I have learned from all this is a very hard lesson. That it was a gross mistake to go back to school in my mid forties to get a masters in education because now I am indebt beyond my eyeballs. Prior to pursing my masters, I had excellent credit and money in the bank. Now I am drowning in debt from school loans and medical bills. Not a good place to be at for a single woman at fifty with no family. I am at place in my life that I thought I would avoid if I went back to school. Ah, the Irony. As far as your situation, you might fair better getting a teaching position by moving to a new state because you would be a new fresh face so to speak. It has been my observation that teachers like you who leave the district for several years and then want to come back, do not get rehired. The reason for this is because they do not want to have to reinstate any credit to you for your prior teaching experience. In essence, they don’t want to have to pay you the big bucks. Hiring a young 20 something with only a bachelor’s degree is going to cost them a hell of lot less. Also, administrators tell themselves that if a teacher has been out of the profession too long they won’t understand or put into practice the latest pedagogical fad theory that they have adopted. The reality is that what we think is a good teacher is not the same as what school administrators view as a good teacher. A good teacher to them is a cheap teacher, and one that feeds on the worm that is fed to them.
Hi there. I know that this post is older, but I am experiencing some of the things that you already have. Honestly, if I had read this a couple of years ago, I might not have earned my masters in Special Education. I have endorsements in Art K-12, Gifted Pre-K -12, Special Ed. K-12 (mild to moderate), and Elementary K-6. I have worked as an Elementary Educational Assistant for 15 years. In that job, I have many responsibilities. I work with Special Education students, regular ed students, teach reading, tutor, work as the second teacher in double p.e. classes, work in the office if needed, act as the nurse when she is not there, (I was originally hired as the nurse), I help teach parents how to operate machinery, I do too many things to list them all. I have a super work record. I don't use my personal days unless I really need to. I don't use many sick days, either. I am pulled all over the school, so I feel like I am indispensable there. In fact, I was recently told by a teacher that one reason they wouldn't let me get hired was because it would be hard to replace me in my old job.
I don't know why I can't find a job, but I can't find one. I need to get something, soon. I was told by a very successful teacher to get my Master's in Special Ed, but the county that I work in says that they won't consider me because I don't have experience. I have seen much younger people get hired in positions that I asked for. I am very discouraged, and my family depends on my insurance, so I can't take an interim position.
Yes, I agree with this we both have experience, in the classroom as well as experience outside the classroom. It is shame that employers cannot see far beyond the wrinkles or crows feet. I personally believed that I was in a good area which is Special Education. Just because a teacher is in he or she's twenties that does not mean they are far better at the job then you are.
I also made the mistake of going back to school and getting a Masters degree in elementary ed. I also have an endorsement in English lang arts. I was not hired where I volunteered but "allowed to serve" for one week as a "substitute teacher" doing paraprofessional duties. (This included carrying a little stop sign and crossing kids at the crosswalk, and a full day of playground and gym duty. Cafeteria duty was included in the "benefits".) What a surprise it was the day I turned up for sub duties and found my "job" waiting. I later had to turn down the "lucky chance" to become a paraprofessional. I told them that the physical element of the job on "gym day" was a bit hard on the knees. Their other paraprofessionals, all over 40 and with teaching degrees were staggering about with knee problems. Who wants knee surgery. . even if you do get insurance?
We may not have the physical ability of a 23-25 year old, but have experience teaching, often experience raising our own children, common sense, and intelligence. I believe administrators are looking to the 23-25 year olds because these are people who will fear and follow rather than think and communicate. These are not the kind of people who offer supportive work environments that encourage creativity and production. . .and their curriculum and test scores reflect this!
I tell parents to homeschool! Their children won't learn the behaviors modeled by teachers and administrators. The infighting and bullying I've seen in teaching is really shocking. Honestly, this year I've let it go. I paid as I went so I wouldn't have any bills left over. I save money by not having to drive the long distances or buy materials out of pocket!
I am 55 & live in southeastern Ohio. I got my Masters In Special Education in Dec. Cross Categorically K-12. I was told I'd get in sooner, if I took this. Well, I've had 1 interview & it was for troubled youth with severe criminal problems, I discovered, not just small ones. I did get a interest call for a Charter school in Florida but then never called me back. My husband said we couldn't afford to move & couldn't get what our very small house is worth, if we could sell it. I have subbed for 4 years & am tired of subbing. I'm not getting much work this school year at all. I have school loans galore & I mean galore. I've tried for I don't know how many jobs in the city here, etc. I rarely hear and I never hear when I apply for the city. It says on the web-site that you have to already full-time employed, too by them. Does subbing not count? It isn't full-time. I do sometimes think it's who you know and age and politics. I always wanted to teach. I'm not good at higher math, like Algebra, so it took me 4 times to pass the Math Praxis. I don't even think Ohio uses this. I graduated with a 99 % plus with my graduate school classes. I wish now I would have done something else. But what I don't know. I don't see teachers getting hired unless they're young or know someone and I'm not from here. I do have 1 former principal for my references (and who's now on a school board) and another current principal but it hasn't helped. Now my husband just got non-service disability & if I work too much it gets taken away. My husband has been unemployed for 4 1/2 years almost and he's almost 60. I don't see him getting hired. I got into the wrong field and we live in the wrong city. And teachers are not retiring. I've been told all this over and over by people. I am very depressed. I am having some health problems, too. I have foot ( a shattered fibula from 5 years ago that was repaired) that makes me limp & it swells & it gets worse with any activity. I don't know what is going to happen to me. But best of luck to you. Maybe you'll have better chances where you are than here.
I am so sorry, but I have not had any luck. We moved to NC 4 years ago.( Prior to moving to NC, I taught art in the same school for 12 years). I was able to find a end of year position the first year. The second year I landed a job because I was big into multiculturalism (I teach art). Unfortunately the principal was waiting for a younger TA to pass the praxis in art. When she did my evaluations went from great to horrible, and at the end of the year I was told my contact would not be renewed and that "I am so glad to be getting rid of you". Prior to this job, I have never had a bad evaluation. That was 2 years ago. I have had several interviews, some lasting up to 2 1/2 hours with 6 people shooting questions at me. I have even been called back to teach lessons. Still the jobs went to younger people (I am 51).
I am sorry for the bad news. I just wish there was something we could do, this is age discrimination but how can we prove it? I even had a principal tell me that she didn't feel I had enough energy to teach elementary school children. (Wish I had that on tape.)
If you love teaching..there is always subbing, there are no benefits, there is no consistency but it is something. I just love what I have been doing in the past...Can't see myself doing anything else.
Move on to something else. The trend is to get rid of older workers in the education system. You might find a job because you will be at the bottom of the pay scale, which is "nothing", but the students will not relate to you, and that is what administrators are looking for. Also, they want a teacher is up to long hours, staying for all sorts of afterschool activities, supervision of long, sometimes physically demanding field trips, etc. Teaching is a very physically and mentally demanding job. I know, I am 58 and was let go ( along with approximately 12 other older teachers).
This was a good, honest reply! So many people try to encourage older teachers and I know from being on interview teams that the chances are very poor for older candidates. I taught for over 28 years and I am now in my fifties. Schools and teaching have changed so drastically, and people try to get into the profession thinking that they'll fulfill a dream based on personal experiences from the past. In truth, schools of today are driven by test scores, politics, and budgets.
A friend of mine just applied to be an adjunct professor at a jr. college near her house. Maybe, since your education is new, that could be an option. I don't know if you would get hired in my district, because they invest much time and money in new teacher training. They might opt for someone who has a longer career ahead of them. Have you thought about private schools? They don't pay as much, but from what I hear on this board, the atmosphere can be very positive. Good luck!!!
Just happened upon this post. I am in major debt over college expenses. Currently completing a MA in special ed. I am almost at the point of losing hope. I wish I had NEVER went to school to become a certified teacher. As soon as I put my birth-date on an application (background check), I know it is the kiss of death to achieving an interview. The university should have warned me. The Dean's List certificates, mean nothing. Raising a large family (12 children) means nothing. I cannot fix what is broken. I cannot make myself 23 and attractive again. Male principals tend to hire young women. Women principals tend to hire young women. I frustrate myself by working in a school as an aide to teachers who are less competent, yet make a lot more money. I keep my license current, because I cannot fathom not seeing myself as a teacher. I have worked to hard, too long. What can I do??? Will I be paying for my college education with social security while working as a greeter at Walmart??It is a nightmare! It worries me sick thinking about this huge mistake. But, somehow, I don't think the federal loan department will care. What a sad state. A college grad with a Magna Cum Laud medal, but not job...
I am a fourth year teacher, 46, who taught self contained ED in an inner city school. I got into the field through alternative certification (Teach for America, New Teacher Project), where one has an intern cert for two years while doing a Master's. Have now been in the field for three years, and just moved from my original district. Got a job after about three weeks of serious looking, and got multiple offers on the same day. It helps that I am SPED, and specializing in ED self-contained, but I did have opportunities to move to resource as well. I think that, unfortunately, SPED is a growing area of specialization, so my job is pretty much recession proof. The fact that I have several years of ED experience helps, too.
Barbara: I hear your frustration and pain. I got my Master of Arts in Teaching and also later got a SPED certification. I borrowed a lot of money to do this since grants are nearly impossible to find for older people returning to school. I have had no success in getting hired for a regular elem ed or sped position. I just turned 54. Recently, I sent a long letter to the Dept of Ed (FEDERAL GOVT) and was essentially told that I needed to prove my allegations, and that it would take time, effort and money to pursue this. I have been a sub for about a year now. I receive the same pay as someone with a high school diploma or GED. Although I was also a stay at home mom, my husband and I never had an extra nickel, and I wanted to go back to school since my two other degrees were in social sciences and I never had success finding work with those degrees. Also, I had taught as an uncertified teacher in an Alternative School and liked it. Additionally, so many people in the know told me that older teachers are often more able to cope with students, are less likely to move, get pregnant, etc. I bought the stories, and pressed on. I got my MAT in 2007, and my SPED cert in 2011. I am a good teacher. Subbing has been helpful and taught me a lot about the practical realities of teaching. Many people assume I am a retired teacher who works as a sub for pin money or to add to my retirement money. Not true. I have also been told by a number of people that getting hired is nearly impossible if you have six or more years experience (I don't), are not fresh out of college (I am not), have a higher degree (I am on the same state/district pay scale as a newbie--no credit for the other degrees), and essentially, am not young. It has been a horrible experience trying to get a job. I owe thousands of dollars to the Fed govt. We live on my husband's Social Security. I have no health insurance. So, if I had known I could have been a sub without a degree in education, I would have never gone after the certification. Many districts nation-wide are cutting budgets. They also want young people who may be more compliant, and will do what they are told. I am not a trouble-maker, wouldn't ever cause a problem, and always do what I am told. I go in on weekends, stay late, work hard. But I am very bitter, as you can see. I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope I haven't burst your bubble. Good luck.
Yes, sadly this is something that does happen. People dont want to hear it or believe it which is so frustrating. My mom went back to school in her late 30s to get a degree in teaching. She was also a substitute teacher for many years. She went on to get a masters degree in education. In one of her classes her professor told the class that they would never hire a teacher over 30 because they would not be able to physically do the job and in their opinion younger applicants made better teachers. She was shocked but thought that professor was just a jerk. However, when she graduated she could not get a job anywhere. The school where she did her student teaching had 2 student teachers that year, my mom and a younger student teacher in her early 20s who my mom took classes with. The school hired the younger student teacher over my mom. During the younger student teachers interview she told the principal she was fluent in Spanish and would be able to talk to the parents of her students so this is why she got the job. However my mom overheard her laughing in class about how she lied in her interview and told them she spoke Spanish when she didn't know any Spanish and that is how she got her job. My mom continued to sub at this school the next year, and this new teacher received multiple complaints from parents when it was revealed she did not know Spanish. Was the teacher reprimanded or let go? No. The school said apparently it had all just been a misunderstanding in her interview and the next year she was moved to a different grade level. My mom continued to go on interviews but could not get hired. She eventually became the permanent substitute for an older principal who loved her and hired her as soon as there was an opening. But she had to wait years before this happened.
Even though i saw my mom going through this, I also decided to go into teaching at a later age. I am a social worker with a masters degree but decided to change careers. I was a substitute teacher during college and have nine years subbing experience. I completed an alternative certification program and got certified to teach elementary EC-6th and K-12th special education. Everyone said if I got the special education endorsement I would be hired immediately and not have to go through what my mom went through. I have now been certified for almost 5 years and cannot get a job. When I get called for interviews the principals are very nice and friendly, however, when I walk into the interview their demeanor changes immediately when they see I am in my late 30's. I had one principal tell me the grade level team I was interviewing for was a very young team and it was important that they hire some on who fit in with the team as this team was very close and did a lot of things together outside of work. Excuse me? I didn't know going out to party after work made me a good teacher. I so wish I had had a tape recorder on me that day. One position I interviewed for the principal told me they were initially excited about my application because of my social work background as this was a special ed position for behaviorally challenged students and they wanted a teacher who could do social assessments and help the families with community resources. I was so excited and knew I had the job. I didn't get the job and found out later they hired a 22 year old with no experience and who had gotten a bachelors degree in psychology from the university of phoenix. I have a masters degree in social work from an well known public university and experience! So frustrating. I have yet to find a job.
My mom states that in her district all of the new teachers are young and right of school. A large portion of them are related to school district administrators. It is well known in my moms district that there is a family that the husband was a school principal and is now on the school board, his wife changed careers and got a job as a teacher in the district and was eventually promoted to principal within a few years of being in the classroom, and this couple's four children all went into teaching and all secured teaching positions in this district during their student teaching before they had even graduated. One of their children taught for two years while going back for her masters degree in school administration and was immediately hired to be a school principal in the same district as her parents. She is 26 years old and has only been in the classroom for two years and has already been promoted to a principal position all due to who her parents are. And people wonder what is wrong with our school system? I think it should be mandatory that districts cannot hire you if you are related to another employee. And yes, that would put me out of contention in my moms district, but it would make it fair.
Is there age discrimination in teaching? Absolutely! I cant believe there has not been more attention called to this. Its a sad phenomenon that happens everyday but no one outside of teaching believes it.
Most jobs are "who you know". My next door neighbor is a principal at a high school across town, and he told me he prefers 2nd career people because they know what they want to do, and they can handle the teenagers at his school better.
Hi I have been trying for 5 years to get a job in the state I came from before I got married ,now divorced I am stuck in a redneck town that pays well but does not have a slew of people applying,they need people. I have filled out many apps and have had 4 interviews in places I would love to live but when they see me I feel they are thinking she is too old. I am 58 but did not start teaching until I was 38 and lost some time in between I do try and state that I started my career later so they don't have to pay as much(like teachers are so rich).
Anyway I feel if I want to move I am going to have to give up my career as an art teacher.OR stay here till I am 65 and then move! Thanks x husband!
Re: ArtsyFartsyII post.
Well, I have to agree that who you know is extremely important, even more than what you know. This is true in all occupations that I can think of, but according to the other bloggers, and my own experience, the evidence doesn't point to most principals agreeing with your neighbor. I mean, many may feel that way, but that doesn't mean they act on their feelings. There is definitely age discrimination regarding hiring teachers. I have been told this from Superintendents and one is a Superintendent of Human Resources. They say that no one will admit it, and that the information is 'off the record.'
What is needed here is some actual stats of age groups of teachers. How many young teachers stay put at one school for their career? How much effort goes into a new teacher with no experience? How much time off does a young teacher take compared to middle age or older? The bottom line is ...what are the facts that prove teachers right out of college are better investments than older teachers with experience, or older career changers with no experience? I wonder about other countries. In America we are obsessed with youth, and the idea that age brings wisdom is not appreciated. Fighting the hiring status quo, which relates to all professions, will take no less effort than the Civil Rights Movement, Women's rights, Gay rights, etc.
Who is game?
Last edited by SurfRider; 08-19-2014 at 11:40 PM..
Reason: fixed the title by adding an 's' to get
I am also 57. I have a Master's in Spec. Ed.( Dec. 2011) & have never gotten a full-time teaching job. Someone recently at a Jobs one stop told my husband that nobody knew who I was! I thought I had excellent references! But she said take 1 principal off my references-he wasn't doing me any good! And he wrote me a very good recommendation. I also have 2 more that are very good, too. It's who you know & who you're related to & I see a lot of young people get hired, just out of college. ( no offense-but it's true) They do hire other ages but I think schools like to see us 50 somethings & up subbing. One of my districts say they hire subs for full-time jobs but I only know of 1 or 2. One got a long term subbing job but she didn't get the permanent job.( and she was in her 50s) The other is now retired, subs and was related by marriage to another district employee. I think occasionally this age group gets hired but not very often. I have done other work in my past & did get into teaching later in my life.
At least your husband is working. Mine did have an interview today. We have had it super, super rough. Maybe some other people will have some different views & different experiences. Good luck to you either way.
yes don't give up! Got hired as a teacher at 45 then moved to another state . My problem is the state I graduated from did not require the Praxis. So when I moved after a year I was given an out of state certificate and 3 years to pass tge Praxis which I didn't. So then I had to just sub . Now I am in a new town and got a job as a para. Have renewed my efforts to pass the Praxis - only 2 parts left . I am now 59 but not giving up. Keep calm and press on!
I went back to get my teaching degree when they were begging for teachers and expecting shortages. By the time I graduated at age 45, the so called shortages had all gone away. I did get hired by 2 charter schools and a private school. I lost each job after a semester due to the school closing and/or having financial issues. I have subbed for 8 years in 2 districts. I was told I need to "make connections". I did all that; have done 5 long term assignments. I have had 4 interviews this year. One interviewer asked me how long I plan to work. I was humiliated and angry at that question. I am 55 , look younger, and am in decent shape. After each long term sub job, I am told I did an excellent job. I meet other subs who have similar stories as mine. If I give up and try something else, I am sure I will run into the same age discrimination. It is very hard to not become bitter at this point.
I am 60, energetic, enthusiastic and have 26 years elementary experience. After moving to another state I could only secure employment as an associate teacher. I know that I cannot offer a district 15-20 years of service so I accepted my job. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
I just stumbled onto this site in a google search for "middle-age teachers finding jobs". If I thought it would help, I'd get a facelift to make me look younger, lol, but then my year of graduation would give me away (I was an ambitious youngster who jumped into college right away, got a teacher's degree and taught for several years, and then opted to stay home and raise her children). But I digress.....
I am just finishing up my Masters, which I have done after separating from my husband and raising our four children as a single mother. I have worked my butt-off substitute teaching, and even that has been difficult to get into, because in my district retired teachers are favored for subs and young, fresh-out-of-university students get the full-time jobs. I thought that getting a Masters after being out of the field for a while would "freshen-up" my CV. Ha ha ha! Thousands of dollars in debt later I am realizing that this is NOT the case.
Here is where my thankfulness in finding this site comes in:
I had been actually thinking of getting my ESL certificate and post baccalaureate which would put me into a higher pay bracket, given the chance I found a contract job. This, of course, would put me out several months of teaching because I'd be doing a practicum, and then, too, I'd be paying for the courses which would eat-up current wages. My rationale for this was that it would give me a practicum and then, perhaps, connect me better.
I now have an omniscient view of this whole paradigm and am laughing--albeit ruefully--at my former naivety. And the people who try to encourage you to keep at it--to remain positive--are gosh-darn stupid (more laughter).
I might as well try to carve-out a career for myself as a stand-up comedian, I'd probably be more successful; failure can be funny.
Here is another reason I am thankful I found this site: I have been doing all sorts of ass-kissing to teachers I sub for--correcting their work (even taking it home and staying up ate at night to do this) in hopes they'll sing my praises and it will give me an "in". @#$% that %^&*!!! Oh, they want me back all right, and I work every single day--full days only. But it's not making me get my own classroom.
Positivity comes in many forms. Mine comes in the gratefulness that comes from finally seeing the big picture.
Yes, I have done the same kissing up while subbing. I took 4 long term sub jobs and worked my butt off. I was told I did a great job; but of course that is because I got them out of a jam and gave them one less thing to worry about. Those same administrators acted as if they didn't know me when I applied for a job opening. I had 3 or 4 schools that I subbed at a lot and bent over backwards to do whatever they needed. About a year ago I realized the fact that I am in my 50's is the deal breaker.
I have suffered this culture shock as well. I am 53 and my husband recently retired from the Army. I have taught middle school for 13 years and have a masters degree so I truly believed after his retirement and moving back to our home town I would have no problem getting a teaching position in the district where I taught in the past. I went to 6 interviews and was rejected. This really depressed me and I started to feel as if I was worthless as a teacher. Teaching was my second career choice and I have always loved it! Now....I am 53 years old and can't get a job! Gee....I really never felt 53 was OLD It is really sad and frustrating but even more so that school administrators would rather hire young people straight out of college and have to deal with possible issues from them. There is something always in the news and I say to my husband....well....if they would be a bit more selective in who they choose to teach at their school and maybe even consider hiring a mature adult with experience with an impeccable teaching background they wouldn't have these problems! Oh but wait......middle age......forget it! It is very discouraging and frustrating! One last thing to make you laugh......I went to an interview and was rejected for the position but was offered to come in for a semester and work with a teacher to "gain experience and be mentored by her"....for free....no pay.....just come in and shadow a teacher who is supposed to know more than myself??? No thank you!!! I was shocked, humiliated, angry and absolutely offended! I have also came to realize that I am never going to be worth any more to a school at this point than being a sub. It is very sad to think you are washed up at 50 these days!
I have 28 years teaching experience, a Masters plus 30 graduate hours, state certified elementary with gifted and talented through 2020, and I retired in 2003 because of husband's poor health and extremely active daughter's last year of high school.(Husband's health is great now and daughter lives and works happily in TN.) So I'm ready to return to the classroom.
I interviewed this week and was rejected. I interviewed 2 weeks ago and an employee within the district was hired instead of me. I'm not sure how long I'll continue to apply. I do know I love teaching and still have a lot to offer. And my wrinkles are "lines of wisdom ." Maybe you have some "lines of wisdom" too.
I feel like being at the right place at the right time is going to make the difference for me. I check the school websites daily. When I see an opening I jump on it with my application.
My suggestion to you is to keep trying. My first year I was hired one week before school started. 2nd job, hired in February for a long term leave which became a full time job; 3rd job, hired mid June. They should not let age be a factor but may ask you, "what do you see yourself doing 5 years from now?" Good luck!
I am 58, considered very attractive for my age, in good shape, and finished my masters in education two years ago with a 3.9 GPA. I have sacrificed my social life to pursue my degree while working in schools as a paraprofessional. After significant time and effort to find teaching jobs, I've discovered that schools don't really want older teachers. I've been fortunate to have had teaching jobs since I got my masters degree, but would not recommend this route to anyone. Although I enjoy teaching, and my students have done well, I regret doing this.
I always held the education field on a pedestal, and was proud to become an educator. What I've found is that the school systems are extremely political. It's hard to get a job unless you know someone in the system, and it's harder to keep the job if you're older. I have worked nonstop in getting my degree, working as a teacher, and countless extra time I put in at home. It has become clear to me that schools don't want to invest in older teachers; they would rather develop new teachers. Some administrators and parents have an appreciation for mature teachers that have much experience that they bring to the job, but these people are in the minority. I'm sure you've heard parents talk about their kids' teachers at times saying," Oh, they have a nice young teacher!"
If I had to do it over again, I would get a degree in a field for gerontology. There is a growing need for professionals working with older people, as our population becomes older. I would suspect that there might be less age discrimination.
You are exactly correct in your observations. I too wish I had chosen something else. This is sad because I have taken several tests where the results tell you what you would be good at as far as a career. It always lists teacher number one for me. However I would not recommend a teaching career to anyone these days. It wasn't too many years ago that "2nd career " teachers were welcomed to the field, no matter what their age.