Younger staff seen as more dynamic and enthusiastic
I was not affected by ageism until I got to forty-nine, although I did notice I was becoming invisible from the age of thirty. My first real experience was in a staffroom in 1990. We were asked to look at each other by a senior member of management to see how many of us were under the age of 40 years. This person (an older woman) actually said it was a cause for concern. It was made quite clear that younger members of staff were preferred as apparently they were seen as more dynamic and enthusiastic. We soon realised that our hopes of promotion were gone (for most men and women over 35) and we had plenty of evidence to prove it. Ageism is now rife in education all over the country, and older teachers are systematically driven out of their jobs. Parents and pupils on the other hand mostly welcome and appreciate older teachers.
Importantly older people have so much to offer the younger generations. Individuals recognise this but unfortunately many decision makers do not. I do not envy the younger generation because they are having a hard time. Much harder than when I was their age. Ageism however is depressing as older people are a vital part of society just as younger people are. We do need each other.
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