Sometimes people complain in the media that there are too many old teachers working in Estonian schools. People doubt whether old teachers are able to keep up with the times. In fact, this is not fair. Every person is different. Many older teachers are doing a great job. Research has also shown that students don’t care at all about the age of the teacher. The main thing is that the teacher is good at teaching and cares about the children! Besides, in Estonia it’s forbidden to exclude someone from a job just because of their age.
Let’s see how an elderly teacher, Ljudmila, managed to stand up for herself.
Ljudmila works as a teacher. She loves her job. She has worked as a teacher for 45 years. Ljudmila is 70 years old. She doesn’t want to retire yet, because she likes working with children. Fortunately, there is nothing wrong with Ljudmila’s health either.
Ljudmila reads newspapers. She feels bad when someone writes that teachers in Estonia are too old. It is true that today, most teachers in Estonian schools are aged 50-59. But who is to say when a person is too old to work?
One day, the school principal tells Ljudmila that she should retire. This makes her sad. She asks her students what they think the most important thing about a teacher is.Does the age of the teacher matter? The students respond that a teacher must be friendly, understanding and caring. A teacher must be calm and balanced. A teacher must be in a good mood. They really value a teacher’s ability to make good jokes. A teacher has to be smart and broad-minded. A teacher has to be good, but also strict enough. A good teacher is fair and honest. A good teacher doesn’t give marks based on appearance, behaviour or the student’s family. A teacher must not scream at students. A teacher does not mock students, belittle their achievements or suggestions. A good teacher makes learning interesting. A teacher must be able to explain everything clearly and teach their subject well.
Teacher Ljudmila gathers the responses of the students. She takes them to the school principal. The director reads out the students’ answers. The school principal sees that good teaching skills matter, not the teacher’s age. Ljudmila can continue doing the job she loves. No one should be dismissed because of their age.