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BlessedbyKids BlessedbyKids is offline
 
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Starting at 50
Old 06-16-2019, 02:40 PM
 
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I am almost 47 and preparing to start college this fall for an elementary education degree. I will be 50 when I graduate. I am extremely excited, but also a little worried. I will be affected by WEP regarding retirement. I have done my research and by my best calculations will still receive more from a combination of TRS and SS, as long as I work until I am 67. I plan to work until I am 67, regardless of what career I am in, but a little concerned about the reality of whether teachers work until this age. My children are now grown and on their own so I do not have too much responsibility outside of my very supportive husband, household chores and full time job. My job is flexible and I plan to continue working as long as possible during the education program. I would like to know your thoughts on teaching elementary education into my late 60ís and what to expect with keeping my full time job while going to college (I do not want loans). Teaching kids is a lifelong dream of mine and I feel like it will be worth the craziness of working full time and going to college, but I also have to be realistic with retirement. I currently manage a medical practice with three clinics, 4 doctors and 30 employees. I say to myself daily that I would much rather be in a classroom full of awesome kiddos than managing 30 women, lol!


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Welcome to PT!
Old 06-16-2019, 02:50 PM
 
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Youíre as young as you feel! Our Teacher of the Year this year just happens to be 72. Another highly regarded dynamo is 64, and she was hired at 60. If you plan on working anyway, why not do what you will love?

My situation is different, as I just turned 60 and am retiring at the end of this month. However, I am beginning another chapter in my teaching life by beginning as a kindergarten teacher in a Catholic school down south. I am so excited Iím jumping out of my skin!

Wishing you all the best! You can do it! Just keep posting here, and we will help you along the way!
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Old 06-16-2019, 04:10 PM
 
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I love that you are changing but still doing what you love! That is so exciting! I am beyond excited to get started. Thank you for the encouraging words. I feel young at heart and am in good health so I think I will be able to keep up with the younger kiddos. I just hope I am up for the challenge of working and going to college, both full time. I may be begging for tips on how to make this work soon!
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Starting at 50
Old 06-18-2019, 04:15 PM
 
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I am happy to hear that you are embarking upon a teaching career; it is exciting to know that more mature people are entering the education field.
I believe our kids need mature life experience teachers. Unfortunately, it is not a well embraced concept.

I earned my teaching degree at 50; nine years later I have not been able to find success. Hopefully, the school districts where you live are not guided by biases.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:30 PM
 
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How is the job market in your area? Elementary is a really saturated field in the vast majority of locations. Even in my area, which is beginning to see a teacher shortage, there are still plenty of applicants for elementary classroom teachers.

I would be less concerned about working until 67 and more concerned about getting hired in the first place. I would say ageism is pretty rampant, at least in my area. Principals prefer young people that they can "mold" to whatever they want, and there is a stereotype that older people are set in their ways and "won't fit in with the staff" or "can't connect with the kids." I'm not saying I believe this or trying to be mean; I just really want you to understand what you're getting into. I've seen a whole lot of this when we're trying to fill sped positions at my school, and sped is a shortage area here! Even with that being the case, older teachers aren't really considered. You may have better luck in a private school, but the salary/benefits/retirement is probably not sustainable for you.

If you do eventually get hired, I would be shocked if it was your first year out of school. Do you need the 17 years for retirement, and if you take longer to get hired, will you have to just work longer and longer? Some people can get their foot in the door through subbing or being an aide, but can you afford to take the massive pay cut to do that? Does your state have tenure? You may be willing to work until 67 or beyond, but it is very likely that admins will want you out before that. You'd definitely want some sort of protection if you plan to work until that age. I've never seen anyone do it.

And lastly, how much do you know about what teaching is really like now? Do you have friends in the field? If so, could you spend some time shadowing, maybe under the guise of volunteering? Ask A LOT of questions about the stuff that goes on "behind the scenes." I just think a lot of times people have this picture of teaching from when they were in school and it's nowhere near accurate. My college program also presented a very rosy picture of what we'd be doing once we became teachers that was not very accurate. Luckily they did have us doing a lot of field experiences, but professors often said things like, "Oh, but you won't have xyz issue in your classroom because you'll know how to _____," which is just not really how it works in real life.

Again, I'm not trying to be mean. I honestly think this is a mistake and I want you to really understand what you're getting into before you spend thousands on another college degree. If you're going to do it, you should at least go in with your eyes wide open to all of the risks. If it were me, I would consider volunteer opportunities that would fulfill your desire to work with kids.


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Welp...
Old 06-19-2019, 04:44 AM
 
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The most coveted job, teaching in a public school with excellent benefits and a strong union, is almost impossible at 50 where I live. UNLESS it's high school chemistry/physics/mathematics and the person has a strong industry background. My dear kid's math teach is new to the school, and 40ish. He taught one year at a charter, then was hired in a district where 200 applications for one job is common.

The teacher came from a big deal tech company, and start two new STEM clubs with industry tie ins. So, being cheap (new degree), and a some potential good PR stuff the district can crow about really helps. Hustling other stuff you can do besides being just an awesome teacher, can flip things in your favor.

50 year old teacher, newly hatch degree, nothing exceptional on the side going on, no family/personal/community ties with this district, and wants that 1st grade slot at my DD old elementary school, would she/he have a shot? BWAHAHAHA! If you manage to get picked out of the 300 applications for an interview, the new hires are almost always mid 20s and with a plain old education degree. The district wants cheap. The parents want young. Older teachers transfer in and out from other schools in the district, but I've never seen an older teacher hired off the street there.

There are teaching jobs to be had at charter schools, private schools and districts like Detroit. They all have there draw backs, but even my "terrific" district has downsides.

The thing you will need to get used, from your current job, is being blamed for everything that goes wrong that is out of your control. And that you suck as a human. If it's not district, it's your administration. It's a parent who is furious (X) happened. Now you get treated like a human with some self respect and dignity. If you take any of the school side drama BS personally, you'll last a year. The down side of teaching isn't the kids, it's the adults who can be as petty AF. I'm talking ninja level petty.
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Go for it.
Old 06-19-2019, 05:05 AM
 
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Okay, based on what you described as TRS, I'm assuming you are talking about Texas.

Go for it!

A few things to keep in mind:

Re: TRS and ss - You will need to check, but you don't have to take the TRS retirement later when you end teaching. Now as to how many years, your age, and so on, to get your money out without being punished by WEP and BPO, check this out. We had a gentleman retire where he still got all his soc security and a little bit from TRS. And another suggestion is that there are a few school districts in Texas that do pay soc. security - you might check that out.

Location - are you flexible? Can you go work anywhere in Texas? If so, I have no doubt you will land a job. Many people come to teaching as a second career. It seemed that we had a big influx back in the recession; not so much now with the economy being good.

Advantage - you are not a young person right out of college. You have maturity, experience managing and dealing with people. You have a long work history and it should show that you show up for work, you are reliable, and no other issues. (Hiring a young person, yes they can be trained, but there are alot of unknowns as yet. Will they get married and move away? Is this just a stepping stone?) Also they are getting a lot for their money -- new teacher salary so you don't cost the district what a seasoned teacher of the same age would cost them. Also going back to school, making a change like you are doing, working through school, shows that you are also highly motivated. Many districts hire back retired teachers, too.

Suggestion: Do try to do some subbing while in school, just to make sure you are certain and it also gives you experience. You have vacation days from your job so a future employer would also see this as a "real buyin" by you as well.

Another thing to consider: You didn't say, but do you have a college degree? If so, you can do alternative certification.

(Note: my advice pertains to Texas only. Private message me if you need more help.)
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Thank you for your honesty
Old 06-19-2019, 04:13 PM
 
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I have two family members who are currently teaching in my area. They both love it and I have had many discussions with them regarding the day to day. I am certain there are many things I cannot see or predict with teaching, and I do realize that school today is much different from when I was in school, even very different from when my kids were in school. I have been watching the teaching positions that are open in my area, when they open, and when they are filled, etc. I cannot be sure that the website is update, but there seem to be plenty of elementary teaching positions every year available in many of the districts close to me. I live in a VERY small district. I went to school here and my kids went to school here as well. I feel confident I would be able to get a position if it opens here, but I would choose to work elsewhere primarily because of the huge pay difference. I am worried about age discrimination, and I am going to spend quite a bit on this degree.
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:19 PM
 
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This is sad, discouraging, and criminal. Itís sad to think that one human being can judge another human being as if they are useless, incompetent, and worthy of being thrown away due to their age.

I know firsthand how discouraging it is because it is my present experience; not only was I fired from my teaching job after a year, it was done in a way that I cannot ever apply to that district again.

It is criminal because it is against the law to deny someone employment due to their age. It is even more criminal that those of us who knows that it is happening in our school systems accepts it. We keep our mouths closed and simply do not say anything.

We watch as we are robbed of our careers, our dignity, our right to make a living in our chosen profession; and we say nothing.

If we witnessed our local liquor store being robbed; would we accept it and say nothing?
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Old 06-19-2019, 04:25 PM
 
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Thank you for all this information! Yes, I am in Texas. I live way out in the country but close enough to numerous school districts. I do not believe any of the districts in my area pay ss. I have spoke with a representative at TRS and with someone at the ss office, so I am pretty sure I will be okay with retirement. I have 47 college hours as of today, so alternative credentialing is not an option for me. After my kids graduated, I decided to go to college and finally get a degree. I initially struggled with deciding between nursing and teaching. I took all the pre-requisites for nursing, applied and was accepted into a nursing program (which was really tough, lol). After getting into the program, I realized pretty quick that I was not cut out to be in the clinical side of healthcare. I chose nursing because of job security and pay, but have realized that my heart is with kids and I am a little upset with myself for wasting this time! I am definitely going to use some of my vacation time this upcoming year to do volunteer work at my local school. That is a great idea!


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That is so sad!
Old 06-19-2019, 04:27 PM
 
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I don't know what area you are in, but it is so unfortunate to have worked so hard for your degree and not be able to find a job. That really scares me!
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:44 PM
 
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Unless you have an inside track for a job, I would advise against this. I am looking for work and subbed for 3 years. If I could go back, I would not get a Masters in teaching. From everything I know, you are going to be a hard fit for a job. Just being honest. One person in my cohort worked part time on the weekends as a waitress, and the school said she would probably end up failing. She did it, but she was like 25 and working at a brewery restaurant and I think it really took a toll on her. Is your program part time?
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:32 PM
 
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I'm a big believer in following your dreams. Life is too short not to.

My P. has never not hired someone because of age. It is always based upon "Is this person a good fit for our school? Will he/she be a good fit for the current grade level teammates? Does this person have a passion for kids/teaching?" And then, of course a good personality that comes through in the interview. (Obviously good references, too).

I've sat in on many, many interviews and age has never come into play. We've hired younger. We've hired older. We've hired brand-new. We've hired those with many years of experience. All across the spectrum.

So, I guess it really depends on each individual principal as to whether or not age comes into play.

Good luck!
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I began at 40,
Old 06-19-2019, 08:28 PM
 
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here in Texas. I felt like an old lady because it seemed many teachers in the school were in their 20's.

My first principal hired all ages, also.

Good luck! Follow your dream!
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Old 06-19-2019, 08:37 PM
 
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For females age discrimination can happen at any age. Who wants to hire a 20 or 30 something for they could get pregnant, and have take off mid-year for the birth of their child? This is a much more expensive problem than hiring an older person. A 50 year old woman has zero chances of becoming pregnant! I have known a few 50 years to obtain elementary positions, one ( a male) taught 3rd grade in a public school, one female taught in a Catholic school, and one female taught special education in a middle school. My good friend started teaching elementary/middle school art at 45, and had no problems of finding a job. With your experience, I would encourage you to volunteer for Junior Achievement. It will give you a good hands-on practice of delivering curriculum and working with kids. Your business management position can transcend to a high school business education position. (The later are very hard to fill in most areas.)
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Old 06-20-2019, 01:37 AM
 
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I went back for my master's in elementary education when I was 56. I had earned a secondary ed degree when I went to college the first time, and when I activated my license in this state (not Texas), it lopped a year off my master's program. I subbed while I was in grad school. I graduated when I was 59 and landed my first teaching job that month. I'm now going into my ninth year of teaching. I am fortunate that the district where I work actually likes older employees; I'm not the only teacher who's been hired after a career somewhere else. But I'm in an independent system, not a public district. I suspect that makes a difference, although it shouldn't.

It seems to me that you have three big things to think about:
* retirement benefits. (I don't know what WEP is, but take it from an "old" lady: don't mess with your retirement benefits.)
* whether you can land a job where you live. (Only public schools? should you sub to prove yourself to potential employers?)
* the time and energy you'll need to earn the degree and then do the job.

You're the only one who can sort all of that out.

You're right, most teachers talk about retiring in their early 60s, or even before. My next-door neighbor retired at age 55. That would bore me silly. I'm already thinking about what I can do AFTER I retire from this job, which I think "might" be in four or five years. I'm also flirting with the idea of pursuing a doctorate. So, I will not tell you that your goal is impossible. I will tell you that it will be tough, but if you can get through nursing prereqs and get admitted to nursing school, you already know tough. Good luck with your decision!

(Just saw the post above mine about heading toward a high school business teacher job. That would be ideal for you, and your age and experience would be a big benefit. HS kids aren't the cute, cuddly elementary ones, though, so...)
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:49 AM
 
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This is an exciting time for you. Returning to college is inspiring and motivating. I went back to school at age 42 and then into the classroom. I am now twenty years into being a teacher and I'd like for you to be attentive to how you feel not with your college colleagues, but after a practicum day in a real classroom.

When I was fifty I still felt energetic, less so as I headed toward 60. I am fit physically but the emotional drain of servicing students' needs has become exhausting. Be attentive to how much paid teachers must do outside of classroom hours--including planning, grading, report cards, documenting behaviors, planning for IEPs, contacting parents, and collecting and reporting data has become intensive. A key question to ask is how much time you are willing to spend before and after school to be prepared for the tasks of the day.

Best wishes to you.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:36 PM
 
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Thank you for your input! I totally agree that retiring early would be difficult for me too. I thrive on activity and challenge every day. I was home for three months without working while taking my nursing pre-requisites and even though I was taking these classes, I was so bored. My house can only get so clean, lol. I do not think I would be a good fit for high school, primarily due to the drama. Kind of why I do not like my current position. As office manager of a large medical practice, I am problem solving every day to help these ladies work out their drama. I love elementary age drama though! I love helping kids realize their potential and love helping to instill confidence in them. I have another month before I really need to register for classes, so I have a little time to reflect. This forum is great. I truly appreciate all views.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:42 PM
 
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I am concerned with how much energy I will have as I get closer to 70. My grandmother is still crazy energetic at 86 though. Maybe I have inherited her genes. I am always willing to put in time after hours at home. My husband travels a lot so I am always looking for something to fill in the time when he is gone. I have a real estate license as well and am actively working as a realtor now part-time. I will have to return my real estate license to an inactive status if I go back to college, but will always have this option after I finish. I LOVE paperwork and planning, literally. Working with parents is a little concerning, lol. I can only imagine the pressure teachers feel when a child is not doing as well as the parents expect.

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Old 06-20-2019, 02:43 PM
 
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I am not sure what Junior Achievement is?
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:46 PM
 
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Hope you are not getting this crazy weather we are getting in North Texas. Yesterday was crazy! I am curious, you said you felt like an old lady. Are the majority of teachers in elementary education this young? At my current job, I am quite a bit older than the majority of my employees. I am even older than two of the physicians, lol. I guess it is not too weird because of the difference in positions, but I had not really thought about the age dynamics of your fellow teachers.
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May have had a sign today...
Old 06-21-2019, 12:55 PM
 
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We went to look at some cattle today and I met a wonderful lady who is a teacher and is 65! She said she may retire in a few years, but doesn't see the point right now as she would not know what to do with herself. I had the longest conversation with her and she was such an inspiration. She has been in elementary education for 27 years.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:08 PM
 
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Why not do something with your nursing course work and your desire to be with kids- be a school nurse!

If you want to only teach is highly recommend getting in and substitute teach- do it across all grade levels so you can get an idea of what it is really like- or be a volunteer at a local school and ask if you can shadow a few teachers for the day to see what it is like.

I started teaching in my 20ís, then stopped and did other things. I started back again at 45 and itís been difficult. Iím one of the oldest in my building, the hours spent on all the planning and meetings is crazy. You are in your feet all day with barely time to eat lunch and use the restroom. For me in my area the salary is very low even with a masters.

All the best to you on whatever you decide!
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Old 06-22-2019, 04:27 AM
 
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When I decided to get a nursing degree, I had planned on being a school nurse, lol. However, I realized that I did not have the stomach for nursing at all. I would be that nursing student that had a vasovagal reaction to anything and everything blood related so I do not honestly think I could have made it through the nursing program. I would have done great with the course work, just not the clinicals, which is why I dropped. Starting salary in my area is actually pretty good. I really thought there would be a good mix of age groups until at least 60. I did not know that the majority of teachers were so much younger. I still have a few core classes to take so I think I will take them next semester and use some of my vacation days to do some volunteer work or subbing with my local district so I can get a better feel of what it will be like. Thank you for your advice!
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Old 06-23-2019, 11:19 AM
 
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My teaching career started when I was 40. I worked 18 years, 12 of them with two women older than me on my grade level team. It is a great time of life to start because you do not have as many responsibilities at home and are a seasoned professional because your own children have provided you with management techniques, the need for good humor, and many tricks up your sleeve. I am sure there are administrators who will welcome a new (a.k.a. low cost) teacher coupled with your life experience.
My advice is to keep up with technology and sock as much away for retirement as you can. Donít forget about IRAs. Over age 50 you can put up to $7,500 away.
You will learn so much from your students! And they will keep you young.
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I began at 46...
Old 06-23-2019, 02:35 PM
 
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I am now 64.5 and love it more than ever! I was in the Air Force for a few years after high school and had other jobs after that (long story), but did NOT want to be a teacher, especially of boys with behavior problems. God used a tragic accident to "kick me through the door." I've been loving and teaching special education (some, but not all behavior issues) ever since. A few weeks ago, a graduating senior came to see me with a rose (I was his 4th grade teacher). Lord willing, I will teach as long as I love it every day, and feel like I can make a difference. God bless you and your decisions!
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I started out as a "2nd career" teacher
Old 06-25-2019, 10:02 AM
 
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and began the same as you. Just be ready to change grades, schools, etc. and retire when you are ready!! The same teacher in the same grade for 20-30 years doesn't exist anymore! That is what you have to be ready for- flexibility!!
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Old 06-29-2019, 06:49 AM
 
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Tons of good advice. Good luck in pursuing your dreams.

Two more considerations:
*your health. I thought teaching was physically demanding and time-consuming. I am reasonably healthy and taught until I was 65, but I would not have wanted to push beyond that. In teaching, you are exposed to many illnesses and will spend time on/off the floor and ladders, on the playground, etc. Unless you have a bathroom in your classroom, you will need to be able to wait to use the restroom. And I always worked longer hours than I was paid for. Teaching is hard work.
*your income. Iíd be very careful here if money matters to you. Iíd carefully compare teaching income with your current job and run long term numbers. If I were you, Iíd probably continue in my current career until I could reap those retirement benefits; if I were still interested in teaching, Iíd volunteer in schools. I guarantee that there is nothing as wonderful as being financially worry-free in retirement.

Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2019, 07:17 AM
 
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It's always good to look before you leap.

I taught for 38 years and, unfortunately, I saw age discrimination in my school district in the last ten years of my career. I saw it often. Often. Older teachers were targeted and given undesirable assignments as they aged. Fortunately, I wasn't a target but I knew my time could arrive at any moment. I even heard my own adult children with, children in elementary, talk about "that older teacher" in negative ways. It's apparent that young parents today see older teachers in less than positive ways. Maybe that always has been the case.

You'll be investing a significant amount of money in a career that just might not hire older applicants.

I'm pretty practical when it comes to investing money and time. Beginning a teaching career at 50 could not be worth the time and money you spend. If you don't have admin connections in your district jobs for older people can be really hard to come by.


Just read this thread about older teachers and their treatment. http://www.proteacher.net/discussion...d.php?t=621165

Last edited by Renea; 06-29-2019 at 10:41 AM.. Reason: added link
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Old 07-01-2019, 08:03 PM
 
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Follow your bliss! The world needs mature, passionate teachers. I say go for it!
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