What age is too old to go into teaching?

(26 Posts)
Peskywabbitsmum Wed 01-Jun-16 15:56:39

I've been keen to do a postgrad in primary teaching for years, but raising my own kids took priority. So, after childminding for several years, I'm seriously considering applying to train next year once my youngest minded child starts school. I'd be 46 by the time I qualified though, is that just too old? It's one of these things that if I don't do it, I'll regret it, but I also want to be employable & would 20 year olds automatically be employed ahead of me?

RememberToSmile1980 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:57:58

You're not too old at all! However think very carefully as many teachers feel overworked and stressed due to many changes at the moment. What subject would you be teaching?

stargirl1701 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:58:16

That's fine. At 46 you would still have more than 20 years ahead of you before retiral.

stargirl1701 Wed 01-Jun-16 15:59:01

You would be a probationer here in Scotland so just as cheap as a 22 year old graduate.

Katisha Wed 01-Jun-16 15:59:06

Watching with interest as I have a friend considering doing this at 50, not having WOTH for many years.

bumbleclat Wed 01-Jun-16 15:59:15

20 year olds certainly wouldn't be employed before you, life experience and transferable skills are hugely important in primary teaching and your depth of experience of the real world will be something that you can offer to the children.
Don't do what my 48 year old friend did though and burn out after only three years.
It will eat you alive if you let it. Make sure you boundary your time.

Peskywabbitsmum Wed 01-Jun-16 16:14:11

Thanks all, childminding takes over my life & my home, so I'm thinking primary teaching would be a similar amount of work, but much more rewarding. My degree is in Home Economics so I could teach that at High School, but I'm much more experienced with younger children & would really eventually like to go into pre 5 teaching. I was told by a relative that I'm far too old, and it's rattled me tbh.

ShelaghTurner Wed 01-Jun-16 16:29:21

Lurking because I've always had it at the back of my mind that one day I'd be a teacher. I'm 44 now and it's occurred to me that time is running out.

DebCee Wed 01-Jun-16 17:00:15

You are definitely not too old. I was 47 when I did my school based training, now 55 and still teaching, generally happily.

Quite a high proportion of new teachers quit before the end of their first (NQT) year and up to half leave in their first five years. So you have plenty of time to have a career that is a lot longer than the average! Head teacher attitudes will vary, but there are plenty out there who will give you a chance if you show promise, very few would be prejudiced against you because of your age, as long as you come across as energetic, competent and willing to learn.

Teaching is not a soft option, the hours in term time are long, particularly for the first few years, and you work a lot in holidays too. You are very vulnerable to changes in government policy which may or may not make sense to you. In the right school, it can still be a rewarding and fulfilling career. In the wrong school, it can be a nightmare.

Because I did a school based route, most of us were career changers, ex TAs or returning SAHMs. The drop out rate was quite high. It's hard to explain just how tough those first few years are, however much relevant experience you have and however good you are with kids. I knew it would be hard, but I think it's a bit like having kids, you can't quite comprehend it until you go through it! You need to have a lot of support and self confidence, know that it is tough for everyone and trust that it does get better as you start to know what you are doing.

I have ended up working in a small special school, very demanding but with a fabulous supportive team. I know I am making a difference to some very vulnerable children and have no regrets at all about my career change. Talk to as many teachers as you can, get some experience volunteering in a school, and if you decide it is for you - yes, you can do it!

TheSolitaryBoojum Wed 01-Jun-16 17:36:47

I don't understand what age has to do with it, in some jobs it's relevant but if you are fit, healthy and able to keep up the pace then your age is irrelevant.
If you do the same training as the other NQTs, it will be how well you perform in that which determines whether you are employed.

Lovefromhull Wed 01-Jun-16 17:37:03

As a food specialist you would find plenty of work. Good luck with it. The most exhausting but best job in the world!

TheSolitaryBoojum Wed 01-Jun-16 17:38:16

Food specialist in primary, not so much. smile

Lovefromhull Wed 01-Jun-16 17:44:24

Good point. Sorry!

DitheringDiva Wed 01-Jun-16 21:35:35

I worked with an NQT who was 51! So you're quite young really. He was a secondary physics teacher though, and the only applicant we had for the post - but he passed his NQT no problems and is still teaching now as far as I know.

CountryLovingGirl Wed 01-Jun-16 22:26:04

I'm 44 and have a place on a secondary PGCE (PT over 2 years). I am still pondering over it though as I would mean a big drop in salary.

We are not too old! Go for it!

Peskywabbitsmum Wed 01-Jun-16 23:00:49

Thanks everyone, I'm feeling much more positive about my application now. No doubt if I do get in, I'll be here much more frequently asking for your help!

ceebie Thu 02-Jun-16 10:45:44

Too old!!!!! Cor blimey, I've never heard the likes. I'm only a few years behind you (41 now) and starting my PGCE in September, I can't wait. I reckon I'm the perfect age for teaching grin! If someone told me I was too old I wouldn't know whether to laugh at their silly joke, be completely incensed at their rudeness, or assume they were jealous of my new career!

MrsGuyOfGisbo Thu 02-Jun-16 10:47:19

When I retrained a couple of years ago all my co-trainees were career changers in 30s and 40s, one was 52 and was snapped up as an NQT because she was a cheap NQT, but had the presence of SLT, was highly thought of, and has just been promoted to HoD (secondary).
So as long as you don't mind that pay is not great, no ageism, in fact, the reverse.

Stargazing25 Thu 02-Jun-16 18:54:15

Most of the School Experience people coming into our school are in their 30s, 40s and even 50 plus. Our PGCE student was in his mid fifties but he wasn't very fit and was struggling.

I think as long as you are fit and healthy you will be fine.

lostscot Thu 02-Jun-16 19:22:06

I work with a NQT who is mid 50s and she's really struggling both physically and mentally. She was a ta previously so knew what she was letting herself in for but I know that she's seriously considering if it's been a good choice.

TheSolitaryBoojum Thu 02-Jun-16 23:11:27

Most NQTs are struggling at the moment. It's the last 6 weeks, reports to write, end of year chaos, everyone is too focused to help and final assessments as to whether they've passed the year.
Then they face next year with the loss of half a day, no mentor and if they're primary, a curriculum role as well.
It's tough, however old you are.

bumbleclat Fri 03-Jun-16 08:44:06

My school will continue to let me have NQT time next year because they see it has value and helps me with my w/l balance, do t be discouraged, some heads are lovely smile

mumnosbest Fri 03-Jun-16 09:48:29

I think in some cases age might be a benefit. Certainly wouldn't do it all again before raising a family.my only concerns would be energy levels. At 38 I struggle with the hours if work after school but that could be to do with having 3 DCs.

Peskywabbitsmum Fri 03-Jun-16 12:34:34

Thanks everyone, I spend my days at the moment running about after preschoolers so I'm hoping I'm fit enough. I'm planning to spend the next year losing a bit of weight & getting my maths skills back up to speed. I might not get onto the course, but if I don't try I'll never know & if I leave it another 10 years it'll definitely be too late.

Badbadbunny Fri 03-Jun-16 14:29:22

One of my ex colleagues (accountant) retrained as a teacher in his late 40's and has been absolutely fine. He's now early 50's and is deputy/assistant head of Maths at his comp, and sounds to enjoy his new profession.

He was used to petty bureaucracy and constant change after 30 years of daily dealings with HMRC, so doing the same thing every year but in a different way is normal to him.

But what I think makes him successful as a teacher is that he has a "presence" - he's the sort of guy you notice when he walks into a room, not in an aggressive/bullying/nasty kind of way, but he can command his audience - I used to be in awe at work how he took control of meetings and I can imagine he's equally as good in the classroom and won't stand too much nonsense.

As for workload, he's one of the most organised people I know. He planned and managed his client portfolio with military precision, so no wasted time, duplication of effort, etc. - when everyone else at his level achieved 75-80% recharged time efficiency, he'd be in the 90's - I imagine he's the same with lesson planning, marking, report writing etc.

So, I don't think age matters - it's aptitude and ability for the job that's far more important. If someone 20/30 years younger isn't well organised and can't control their class, then their age isn't an advantage!

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