Free of the drive for career progression, looking for accolades and/or the need to be seen as a ‘good’ teacher, elder teachers have an air of quiet confidence and ongoing commitment to education and the support of young people. They can look back over their years of teaching service and are able to reflect on and observe what really counts (that is – relationships), which means they can bring purpose and clarity to the profession by honouring this fact.
Elders can offer, through the way they live and communicate, the timeless values of mutual respect, equality and true connection with their students. Most of us have observed grandparents’ natural way with children, free of expectations, and this is echoed in the school environment where elders confirm the innate qualities of their students, and support them to grow and develop at their natural pace.
There is a light heartedness in an elder that can ripple out across a school, cutting through some of the daily pressure and reminding us of the true value of our work and the magic that can unfold in our interactions with our students.
Isn’t this what true education is about and isn’t it time we appreciated the innate qualities of our elder teachers and all that they can offer?