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Dear James and anyone else really who is worried how parents etc will see you because of your age? And also petrified about what is about to begin!

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by missctaylor, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. Hi

    I'm an NQT and will have a year 3 class from Monday.

    I have mixed emotions, very excited to petrified and feeling sick!

    I have been in school a fair few days over summer, classroom is prepared, MTPS in place and first weeks lit and num plans done and first 2 weeks topic plan done. So i think I am as organised as I can be?? Or can I be more organised?

    The school I'm working at is lovely and the staff seems so helpful and supportive and have all said they will be there for me as support.

    But I have one MAJOR worry,

    Im just out of Uni, (3 year BA) and just turned 21 (in July) and look about 17!!! I already know (through talking to TA) that parents are already saying things like "that new teacher looks very young" and also had a parent of child in my class come up to me during summer term and state, " I have to apologise but I didn't believe my daughter when she said that you were her new class teacher as your very young.!"

    Now I know this is to be expected but what can I do to settle these worries I am having? Does anyone else feel like this??

    and lastly I just wana say "GOOD LUCK EVERYONE" for what I know is going to be a very tough yet rewarding year. fingers crossed!!!

    thank you in advance for any advice!
  2. Hi,
    I too am an NQT going into year 3! However I am almost the big 40 so don't have the age thing to worry about. Most of the parents are aware it is my first teaching job but some (who were not at the intro meeting) will probably assume I have been teaching years!
    All I can suggest to you is to be very professional from the outset. If you behave and talk to them professionally it will soon stop them worrying. Also your kids will love the fact you are trendy! Although they will think you are ancient, anyone over 16 to young kids are old!!
    When I was a HLTA there were a number of young teachers and they really didn't have any problems from parents. Ignore the TA she is worrying you for no reason. If you do have any problems though make sure to talk to your mentor or the HT.
    Good luck
  3. I think the above advice about being professional from the outset is perfect. I was in your position years ago and also (shockingly) had a very very tiny nose stud. At the end of the year I had absolutely wonderful comments from the parents and everyone seemed to have forgotten that they had ever been even slightly worried by the new young teacher. Work hard, focus on the children in your class and everything will be fine. Good luck. x
  4. Just be confident at all times. Even when you aren't just fake confidence.
    Stick to your guns on any issues and don't back down to the ranty parent.
    If you genuinely don't know the answer to something don't try and pretend you do. Say that you aren't sure and will check with somebody and get back to them.
    Be honest with the parents at all times.
    Above all make sure you are approachable.
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    It is just odd for many of them to have their child's teacher younger than them. It is a sign of ageing for them and so odd. Believe me, I have the same thoughts every time I go to the GP!

    Just be a teacher and you will be fine. Make sure the children see you are a grown up who is in charge. Ideally they will go home and say you are really strict because that always reassures parents, so start off more stern than you will be later.

    I was the same at your stage in my career. But conversations with parents soon changed from "You are very young, are you sure you will be able to control them", to "My child says you are really strict, we like that."

    Relax and enjoy...
  6. It is a case of remembering that you have the degree and professional qualification - many of the parents may also be professionals and have sdegree qualifications, but you are the oneappointed to the post. It is worthwhile remembering to dress professionally for parent consultations and, what's useful for women, is the ability to apply makeup that makes you seem a little bit older. In truth, many will be jealous that you do not look your age, but if you conduct yourself professionally then that will override thoughts of being 'young'. From what you write you seem to be very well prepared - enjoy the last few days of holiday.
  7. kbewell

    kbewell New commenter

    I was once told by a parent that I couldn't look after their children properly because didn't have any of my own. I also experienced a father looking me up and down and finding out that he was talking about me in the playground! Ewww. All I can suggest is that you grow broad shoulders in the metaphorical sense and let your teaching, relationship with the children and personality do the rest. I am sure that within a few weeks any worries they may have had will be gone when the children say we've done this today or that today. keep onto of those home things don't give them anything to grumble about. Letters out on time, keep them informed. Chat to them. Be available. I am sure you will be great.
  8. I've just finished my NQT at an independent senior school where I teach ages 11-18. I had the exact same 'problem' at first in that I felt that I wasn't much older than some of the pupils I would be teaching. I really wouldn't worry too much about it though; at parents' evenings a couple of parents did make comments like 'you don't look old enough to be a teacher', and my response was quite simply to joke that 'if you look close enough I do', before swiftly moving on to talking about their children...By the end of the year, a lot of parents were saying things like 'that young teacher has so many good ideas' and 'it's nice that she has a fresh outlook on things'...so rest assured that provided you do your job properly, you've got nothing to worry about.
  9. davidmu

    davidmu Occasional commenter

    Do not worry about it, you will be fine. When I started, at 22, I immediately taught a third year sixth form pupil who was 3 years younger and this was not a problem as soon as he realised my mathematical knowledge was of immense value to him. The parents never commented once.
  10. Hello I'm 21 (22 in Nov) and I'm starting as a secondary science NQT. I feel your pain I look about 16 and at 5 ft 7 half of the kids are taller than me!! But I think as long as you know your stuff and you give the air of confidence then nobody will really say anything.
  11. lighthouse_keeper

    lighthouse_keeper New commenter

    I've been there! I'm in secondary - at least in primary you cannot be confused for a pupil - in my NQT year (I was 22 ) I was told off by the dinner ladies for jumping the queue, told to go round the one-way system properly by lunchtime supervisors, at parents' evening it was sometimes assumed that I was a helpful prefect.... I feel your pain! (And I'm 5'1 which doesn't help!)
    My strategy was always a confident smile and a good firm handshake when meeting parents and as others have said, just be professional. Now that I wear glasses, I always have those on for anything where I want to be taken more seriously - it might sound silly but I do look more serious when I'm wearing them! Plus I've been teaching 6 years now and the problem is getting less and less as I get more and more wrinkled ;)
    If anyone does comment on it to your face, which has happened to me, just laugh and say you've invested in a great night-cream. You're actually lucky to look young (and people are probably a bit envious) but I know what a pain it can be when you worry that you're not going to be taken seriously! Parents will get used to it, soon they'll forget it and they will just want to know how their child is getting on.
    It will pass! And there's nothing like teaching for ageing you quickly [​IMG] Good luck!
  12. I am of the same predicament. At 22, a secondary music NQT and terribly baby-faced (I was confused with a 6th former many times in my placements) I know that I'll need to make my voice heard with parents and staff alike. I'm only 5"4 as well so like others the kids are taller than me.
  13. Hey don't worry- I am the same age as you, 5 ft 1 and teaching...... drum roll.... A-level!! I am a little nervous as I look the same as my students do but I found looking young has its perks as the kids really related to me in my PGCE year. I have found it helps to dress smartly and adopt a professional attitude. I remember during my interview some of the students thought I was a new pupil when I went to viist the sixth form common room!! Good luck and just be confident in yourself!
  14. I feel your pain! I teach secondary and I am just starting my NQT. I'm 5ft 2 and have always been told I have a baby face even though I've just turned 26! I did a year's supply last year and I was constantly asked if I was an A Level student. I've been mistaken for pupils a few times by teachers and even been shouted at by two teachers on different occasions. I have to say they were mortified when they realised their mistake!! [​IMG]
    It is a worry for me too about being taken seriously by parents, especially as most of my pupils are taller than me (including year 7s!). However, I met my new year 7 tutor's parents in July and apart from a few skeptical looks, it all went well. Just show them you know what you're talking about because they're only judging the book by its cover. Good luck!
    P.s. As everyone tells me, you'll be glad you're so young looking when you're 40 or 50!
  15. I love this thread. I'm a primary NQT, 34 but I have been told I could pass for 24. Oh what a brilliant thing this will be at some point in my life I'm sure, but mostly I just find people constantly patronising me. Pretty sure most of the staff think I'm a lot younger because I'm an NQT - I'm definitely going to wear my glasses more often as a previous poster suggested. To make things weirder, one of the parents is someone I went to junior school with - so she knows how old I really am. I'm torn by thinking that if the parents know I'm 34, they will assume I have years of experience, but if they think I'm 24, they will assume I have little experience. I don't know which is worse! I'm using the line 'I'm new to the school', as opposed to 'I'm new to teaching'. Good luck everyone!
  16. Agree with the posters who have said about being professional and having broad shoulders. I completed my NQT year last year and learned quite a lot about dealing with parents and difficult people. I am no spring chicken either as I gained QTS in my early 40s. I worked in two schools to complete NQT and the experiences with difficult parents in both schools in terms of school support was very different. My situation wasn't ideal, in my second school, as I felt there was very little support from the school and there was a massive acceptance that parents were almost allowed to rant and be abusive to teachers without it being challenged (and this was illustrated in the behaviour of their children unfortunately).
    What I learned and I think much of this will apply no matter what your age (HTH):
    1. Be professional. Stay calm. Not always easy when someone is f-ing and blinding at you, but like managing any behavioural situation, take the role of the adult yourself :)
    2. Parents who are hell bent on causing trouble or being difficult will always find something to pick at you. In the case of young teachers, this is easy, they go for your age/inexperience. But it could be anything from your height, appearance, weight, accent, a mistake you made 6 centuries ago - this can come across in comments their children make. DO NOT under any circumstances take this personally. Much easier said than done because it is personal but all the parent is trying to do, no matter what they use, is undermine your authority. If a parent turns rude or abusive or personal, end the meeting and do not have another meeting with that parent unless someone else is present. I had one or two parents who I was informed not to be alone with at parents' evenings - this is quite common (sadly)
    3. If you don't know something don't use BS. Say you are new to the school (not teaching) and you will get back to the parent. Most parents appreciate this honesty.
    4. Don't back down but be ready to explain your reasoning to a parent but chose your words carefully. I moved a child to a different table and the father rang up protesting because I had moved his son down. I explained to the father this was not the case at all and both tables were doing the same work but in the place he had been sitting he was not working to the best of his potential and I had very high expectations of him, which is why I moved him.
    5. Do not get in to discussions with parents about other children. I had a lot of parents trying to draw me on this one at both schools. Obviously if the parent is accusing another child of bullying you need to take it seriously and deal with it, but you shouldn't really be talking about another child to the parent in any great detail. I found in 9/10 cases where parents wanted to tell me their child was having a problem with another child, there was often an issue outside school between the families or parents that they were trying to drag their children in to. If you have to report that another child has 'hit' their child refer to them as 'another child'. Sure thir child will probably tell them who it was. Be very careful on this because some parents are very good at drawing teachers in to these kinds of disputes. Also some parents will always blame other children for their child's choices. Again stick to your guns with the 'who they are responsible for' response.
    6. Talk to your mentor and colleagues. If you have a tricky parent they will probably have had dealings with them too and be able to offer you some advise. This might not always be constructive (in my case it was always 'that's the way it is here' to which my response was 'well it shouldn't be' but hey ho). At least you know it isn't just you :) They will also know about any problems in the community or families who don't get on.
    I think most of my problems (and learning) in my NQT year came from parents, which struck me as odd given I have massive experience working in referral units and working with social services and education services in the community.

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