A colleague told me she heard two radio commentators talking about how old Gertrude gets to keep her job while poor little Tweenies, the young dedicated, caring teachers will lose theirs, due to budget cuts.
Let me tell you about the Gertrudes in my school. Saturday, little white haired Gertrude #1 spent the entire day with a group of kids getting ready for a competition. Guess what, she didn't get paid for her time. Gertrude #2 gave up her Saturday to watch the JROTC exhibition to support the students in the school. Gertudes #4, #5, #6 and #7 spent a 12 hour day with their cadets. There were no Ms. Tweenies around. Gertrude #8 spends almost all her non teaching periods helping students, even sitting on the floor with them.
The Gertrudes are the ones helping the Tweenies, sharing their knowledge of classroom management and curriculum. They are sharing the tricks of the trade they have learned and perfected and things that can only be learned after years of classroom experience. There are Gertrudes that use the Smart Board and use a computer and are learning all the technology the 21st century has to offer.
Believe it or not, an old person can be a good, caring teacher. Old Gertrude is a teacher of merit. It is against the law to discriminate against any individual because of age, unless of course that person is an aging teacher.