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Any older students out there?

Discussion in 'Thinking of teaching' started by Minnieminxz, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I have almost finished my degree with the OU, while working part-time round my family. I was a TA for 7 years, and have been encouraged to apply for teacher training once I graduate. The question is, am I too old?! I am 43... so no spring chick, but a very young at heart person, and I'd love the chance to finally have a career after bringing up my children for the last 15 years!
    Are any of you mature students? Also, is it harder to get a teaching post at this age compared to a younger model?!
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. If I have my head in the clouds and you think I'm past it, please tell me gently!!

    Thank you x

  2. Definately not too old! My friend is starting her teacher training this year and is 46, so I really don't think you have anything to worry about!
    I've seen trainees of all ages go through my school, and I feel old compared to lots that are going to be on my course (I'm 35), but hey, I figure we have more life experience than the young ones, so what's age but a number?
    Go for it!
  3. Hi Minnieminxz
    You are not too old! I'm 40 and will be 41 by the time I start my GTP in September. I'm coming into teaching after 17 years in the corporate world and cannot wait. I feel younger just thinking about it!
    I too consider myself young at heart. I've maintained an open mind, a positive attitude and love to learn. If you have the right mental attitude, then your age is really just a number.
    I had no problem getting a place - in fact I ended up with a PGCE place and two GTP offers. (Being a man going into primary may have helped, but I had no school experience at all)
    One of the teachers at my son's school came into teaching in her 40s having followed a similar route to you. She tried to retire a few years ago but is back part time because she loves it so much. And my 5 year old who she teaches one day a week loves her!
    Go for it! It will keep you young (at least I'm hoping that's how it works...!)

  4. Hiya - I'm 49 and starting GTP soon after years of working in schools - don't worry about your age - go for it and good luck! And as far as getting a job, you have the advantage of not being likely to clear off on maternity leave which is a major benefit! x
  5. Hi Minnie
    You're definitely not too old! I graduated from the OU last year, just before my 41st birthday and I start my PGCE in September and I have no prior experience of working in a school, save for the few weeks work experience I put in prior to applying.
    More mature students are quite attractive, as they come with automatic authority - i.e. they're a lot older than the kids. If you're straight out of Uni and start training, it can be difficult to command respect/teach the 6th formers as there's often very little age difference.
    Also, you have all that experience in a school behind you already. That also puts you ahead of the younger applicants, who might not have had as much school based experience.
    Good luck!
  6. fluffysparkles

    fluffysparkles New commenter

    Same here! Worked in a sec sch whilst completing an O.U degree (glad to see the back of it tbh!) and now off to PGCE in sept...
    and I had exactly the same worry, being a 'mature' student.....

    at 27...

    Shall await laughs...
  7. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    I'm 42, quitting 17 years in the water industry and starting my Primary PGCE in Sept.
    The Head of my own children's school says that she looks very favourably on older NQTs - same salary as a younger NQT but with far more life experience to draw on. She's had a least one pupil's mum go into teaching every year for the past four years. They all secured good NQT posts, including this year's one already.
  8. I will be 42 by the time I start my GTP in September. The school where I will be training has just appointed a woman of 42 as an NQT to start in September. So many teaching staff are very young, I think schools like to have a few cheap mature people to choose from. Apart from the Head & Deputy Head, the oldest teacher in our school is currently 32. The problems start when you get near the top of the pay scales - and then it won't matter if you are 27 or 57!!
  9. I will be 38 when I start my PGCE in September. This thread has been quite encouraging to read in terms of older students getting jobs - at the moment it all seems doom and gloom on the job front and it's making me wonder whether doing the course is a wise move. I so want to though.
    I'm also hoping that the fact that I'm all done in the baby-producing department will mean schools look more favourably on me than on younger students who might be going on maternity leave a few years in.
  10. Just completed my Maths PGCE at the age of 46 and start my first job as an NQT this September.
    You should go for it, your TA experience will be a tremendous help. However don't under estimate the amount of work involved.
    On my course age did not appear to be a barrier to employment.
    Good Luck!

  11. It was hard work and I found it difficult to get back into ‘study mode’ after such a long gap since leaving university many, many years ago but nobody has even hinted at me being too old.
    I was a little conscious of the age gap between myself, other PGCE students, younger teachers and pupils when I started my teaching practice but it wasn’t a problem.
    Go for it!!
  12. I don't think age should matter, but it WILL be hard work. Two of the more 'mature' PGCE students (in their 40s) on my course dropped out this year, they just couldn't hack it. The third one carried on and failed. Don't let you put you off though, if you're determined and put the work in you'll be great!

    I'm 23 by the way...don't worry about not being able to get on with us younger ones, it's good to hear all about your real life experiences - we value it!
  13. EcoLady

    EcoLady New commenter

    Just for completeness please ... how many of the under 40s dropped out or failed?
  14. I'm 40 and have just completed a PGCE (Design & Technology).
    My friend is 45ish and has also completed the same course. We have both landed our first teaching jobs along with a number of other 'mature' students. I don't think age has been a problem, in fact I would say in my subject it's been an advantage.
    (The present government's attitude towards DT has been a bigger stumbling block).
    I would say prepare yourself for a LOT of work, be as organised as you possibly can be, say goodbye to family and friends until next June and finally, enjoy the experience!
  15. Hi
    I started my OU honours degree in 2005, just to prove to myself that I could do it; I aimed to finish it in 5 years. Then in 2009 I decided to go to the local university and start the PGCE/Cert Ed course in Post Compulsory Education and Training - I ran the last year of the OU course alongside the first year of the PGCE/Cert Ed course. I will say there were weeks, when I didn't know whether I was coming or going!!
    During the 2 year part-time course I went to a local FE college for my teaching hours and in my second year was employed in an hourly paid capacity!
    I am 61 years old, but age is just a number. More important is the determination, dedication and your attitude to life. It is a wonderful feeling when you know your teachng might have made a difference.
    My advice is to go for it - I wish I had done all this years ago.
  16. EcoLady:

    2 under 40s dropped out as well, 1 before Christmas and 1 in January. We have got one lovely mature lady left though who's completed and passed the course so it is definitely possible, perhaps we just had a bad run - we're secondary MFL, not sure if that makes a difference though!
  17. I will start my GTP year in September at the age of 45. I feel that I have many good years ahead of me, more mature outlook, wealth of experience, cheap to employ and I am not likely to take leave to have children, nor my children need me as much as the teachers with younger children. I think all of that gives me a good edge to be selected on a teaching post. Hopefully...
  18. I'm an older entrant to be too; I'm 36 (well will be later this month) and by the time the course hopefully starts (currently on a reserve list.) I'm not too worried about my age; trying to use the life experience and organisation as a bonus really! There's a positive in every situation if you look for it.
  20. Hi, I am 37 and have just finished my primary PGCE, and start my new job tomorrow! Having studied with the OU while working full time I had great oranisational skills, which made the work easier.I also think that experience in different workplaces gave me confidence in my interactions with placement mentors etc
    Good luck and go for it - recognise the unique skills you have developed!

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