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Age discrimination is alive and well in our profession.
09/02/2021

Anonymous

A 65-year-old veteran adult ESOL teacher of 14.5 years in New York City


Age discrimination is alive and well in our profession. We know that technology reigned during the pandemic. It was necessary to anchor students to a learning community, and sometimes, students did increase their English skills. Yet, technology has also become the excuse for laying off experienced and dedicated ESOL teachers, teachers that were trained to teach in a classroom and then made heroic shifts to the online environment, and were effective in both domains. 


 "Due to low enrollment, we’ve had to cut classes. I’ve asked you to leave, even though you are senior to Jerome. It’s not because I have anything but good things to say about your teaching and the contributions you’ve made to our program, but because Jerome is better at technology than you are.”


Age discrimination delivered in thinly veiled non-sense, with no evidence to prove that I was ineffective as an online teacher. The fact? The majority of students during the pandemic increased their writing test scores and developed their English skills. Students told me they wanted me to be their teacher for the next semester, that I was the best teacher they had ever had. I had been told this as a classroom teacher. And, I was told this in the online world we had come to share in tragic times.
 

I’m sure many of you reading this have made this kind of difference in an English language learner’s life. That’s what keeps us steadfast in our professional development and our determination to learn how to teach in the online environment for our students. Our efforts to deliver meaningful instruction day after day, both in the classroom and online, have been successful. And yet, age discrimination will gut the very profession that was built on the backs of teachers like you and me. The students deserve an intergenerational world of English language learning.

Age discrimination is wrong no matter where it rears its ugly head. And, it is a travesty in our ESOL world. 

 

Anonymous

A 65-year-old veteran adult ESOL teacher of 14.5 years in New York City