Summer is beginning to fade, and boys and girls across the state will soon be heading back to school.
One thing I have noticed, as we welcome each crop of new educators, is that teachers are getting younger every year.
That definitely was not the case when I was in school.
The teachers charged with the difficult task of teaching me were ancient.
For example, the elementary school I attended was named after a prominent Minnesota family that made headlines in the 1890s for their success in the mining industry.
I’m pretty sure some of the teachers that were inflicted on me had been around long enough to know those pioneers personally.
Teachers today get most of their material from books. The teachers I had were able to teach most of their history lessons from personal experience.
Sure, there were a few student teachers who passed through our school over the years, but they were young enough to be the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of our regular teachers, and they were never around for very long.
During my school career, it was common for me to encounter teachers who had previously taught my older brothers, but I’m confident some of them had also taught my old man years earlier.
When my work takes me to local schools today, I sometimes have difficulty telling the teachers from the students. They all seem impossibly young.
I’m not suggesting young teachers are necessarily bad. The fact is, some of the teachers I had covered the same material year after year, and hadn’t had a new idea in ages.
Some of them could have delivered their lectures in their sleep. In fact, I think some of them did. I’m sure they put some of their students to sleep, as well.
What young teachers lack in experience they might make up in new ideas and enthusiasm.
Some of my teachers hadn’t had a new idea in years.
Young teachers may not be able to claim a personal acquaintance with David Lloyd George or Georges Clemenceau, as some of my teachers could, but they might be able to bring a fresh energy to the job.
Young teachers may also be free of the kind of bitter baggage some older teachers carry as a result of years of dealing with unruly students.
The thing that worries me, though, is that if this trend of teachers getting younger each year continues, it won’t be long before the students will have to babysit the teachers, and that would just be confusing for everyone.