I remember growing up with teachers who were all older in life and had been in the profession for 20+ years. However, that is no longer the reality of a lot of schools. A lot of the teachers out there are in their early to mid-20s and have only been in the classroom for 1 to 5 years.
To any parent, that may sound terrifying! The obvious thought is: “They can’t possibly have the knowledge or experience to help my child grow to his/her full potential.” And to some extent, that is true. They do not have the experience. But they can offer their students a multitude of 21st century skills, that may not always be offered in the veteran teacher’s classroom.
Here’s a list of some of the positives of having a teacher that was probably born when you were graduating high school:
1. They are EAGER! They will go in early. They will stay late. They want their classroom to be the best in the school, so they are willing to (and able to… most likely, still single…) put that extra time and effort into making each lesson the best it can be.
2. Technology, technology, technology! They know it all. A PowerPoint to them is a thing of the past. Give them an iPad, an iPhone, a SmartBoard, and two computers and all of them will be used at all times throughout the day. The students in their class will become the 21st century thinkers and learners that is almost a requirement nowadays. The multi-sensory learning that a lot children require isn’t going to happen.
3. Most of them are right out of college or in their Masters program. They have all of the new, cutting edge teaching practices in their back pocket. They are not going to stand in front of the whole class and report information. There will be intensive reading groups and differentiated math groups. Lessons will be on the SmartBoard, followed by hands-on activities, followed by group work, and then end with an informal verbal assessment. There will be multi-sensory learning happening all day. Every learning style will be addressed, which means each child will learn and be able to demonstrate what they did learn.
4. They can actually keep up with the kids in the class! If a lesson needs to be on the floor, they’re more than willing to get down there with the kids. If the class or school requires a structured physical activity time, they will jump right in to play the kickball games with their class. If a kid needs advice or support, the teacher can relate to them in a way unlike their parent or their peers.
So to sum it all up, they may not remember Pretty In Pink or John Belushi, but they will definitely be an excellent resource for you and most importantly, your child. Embrace the youth!
Marie Pacini is an Educaiton Specialist with Child & Family Development’s South Charlotte office.