Teaching as a profession can prove to be a highly rewarding experience but it does require a lot of patience, dedication and commitment. It involves spending many out of school hours which can involve preparing lessons, marking work and writing reports. It is not merely the workload that can be overpowering, but dealing with a range of students with varying abilities and different range of behaviour patterns can also prove to be highly challenging.
Bearing these demands of teaching in mind, the question can be raised as to whether there is a ‘right’ age to enter into the profession; can a recent 21 year old graduate be too young and inexperienced to deal with the pressures of teaching? Can it be too late for an older person, for example in their 50’s, to learn to start dealing with these pressures? The answer that I would honestly provide in this instance would be that there really is no age limit to enter this profession. Statistics have shown that there is a widening age range of people who pursue teaching as a career and this may possibly relate to the fact that teaching is a highly diverse profession. There are a few ways to be a ‘perfect’ teacher yet a million ways to be a ‘good’ one, and each individual teacher has a quality which is more often unique to themselves. They have a certain way of teaching, a certain way of dealing with students and a certain way of handling pressure.
Age therefore should not be a barrier when considering the profession, since no matter what age you are, be assured that you will certainly bring something into teaching which will be different and praiseworthy, even though you yourself may not know it. Teaching is not bound down by the restrictions of age since all individuals in various stages of their lives have something to offer. I raised the question above as to whether a 21 year old graduate would be considered as too inexperienced to enter teaching, and in this context it can be argued that even though they may not have too much life experience it does not mean that they are incapable of handling the pressures of teaching. They can bring to the profession a sense of youthfulness and can provide a common awareness of the latest trends and culture which students will relate to. Teachers do not merely enter the classroom to teach, they need to have the ability to be able to communicate comfortably with issues that students are familiar with too.
Similarly I asked whether someone in their 50’s would be considered to be too old to start teaching as a new profession and again in this context it may be argued that their age may not negatively influence their ability to teach. They may not be young and youthful yet the life experiences they can share as an older, mature adult would also be vital for the development of the students’ minds. They too will have their unique way of connecting to students which would involve a level of maturity and respectfulness.
I therefore believe that there is not, and should not be any age restriction to enter teaching, each individual will offer a part of themselves to the teaching profession, which can in many ways positively impact the lives of the students.