I never thought I’d start to feel old. I thought it would just sort of happen when I started getting my pension or fell asleep in my dinner. As it turns out, I have about six different pensions already, one of which is worth an amazing £1.55 (will I save it? or blow the lot on a packet of Werthers Original?) and I haven’t started napping during the day, though I don’t doubt that isn’t far off.
But, I feel old. Old. Very old. It’s my own fault for the career choice I made a few years ago, being a teacher. I go to interviews, bloody job interviews, with these twelve-year-old-looking kids who’ve never really seen anything in life, and then they end up having the job and I don’t get it. Do you see what I mean? That makes me feel like I’m old. Too old. I’m the oldest person in some of these schools. Even the caretakers are younger than me. I am an old, old man.
I didn’t mind so much when my teaching wasn’t very good, which it wasn’t. But now it’s good, better than good, and I’m still not getting jobs. “This isn’t the right school for you,” they say, even though they couldn’t find anything wrong with the lesson I’ve done. Really? Why is the school not for me? It’s a school after all. “You’ll do fantastically well at another school,” they say, imagining that there’s a school where they’ll on a horrendous old-but-not-very-experienced dinosaur. “We just felt that you would want to be a little too creative,” said one, this week.
It would be nice to interpret this all in a positive way, to imagine that really they do all think it’s not me, it’s them; but in reality, I think they think it’s not them, it’s me.
You get looked at with suspicion if you’re over thirty, let alone over forty, in my profession. Even worse if you’re old and you’ve only just started. People can’t process it. If you’re your age, you should be in management already, not only just picking up the skills. If you’re old you should be experienced; you’re not allowed to be old and only just getting there.
If you’re old you should know it all. If you’re going to take on a relative novice, at least get a kid in. They’ll do whatever you say. Old people are just trouble. They have opinions and ideas and want to do things their own way; the greener kids will just settle in and do what they’re told, because they don’t know any different, and you can work them into the ground.
Feeling old. Old, already. Jesus Christ. Forty years old, and too old to start again. Yeah, I’m sure that at another school – not ours, we don’t want you – I’ll do fine. Always another school. Always somewhere else.