>Ageism

>Since starting to work part-time, I have been interested to note how it affects people’s attitude towards me at work. Many of my colleagues have asked me how I’m finding it, to which I reply that it’s great, I’m really catching up with my other responsibilities.

Teachers tend to nod vaguely at this – I have the impression that when they are not in work, they don’t spend their free time catching up with chores. (Do they all employ cleaners?) From my experience of retired teachers, it seems that once they are free of school, they concentrate on being irresponsible!

Support staff seem to be rather envious; some will comment that they can’t afford to work part time. Some obviously could afford it, but choose not to, but they are still envious of my “Free” time!

But lately I’ve wondered if some see it as a sign of ageing; of needing to slow down; of not being able to quite cope with a full time job. Or worse still, of not being able to keep up with the technology any more.

If I’m honest, there must be an element of all of the above in my motives, but I am after all only just past 50; I am just as busy as ever, only with other things; and I know technology better than most 30 year old teachers!

A younger person said the other day (to me, about someone else) that when people are too old for the job they should get out and make room for younger ones. I would have liked to pursue the subject: how old is too old? What should these people do (at the age of 55-60)? What a waste of all that experience and knowledge! And what about the young ones who can’t do the job? There are plenty of those too.

Prejudice is the word that springs to mind…

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