When it comes to dealing with an instructor or teacher who is far younger than the student, there are usually only problems if someone makes it a problem. Just because your Professor is half of your age, and you are newly entering college again, or for the first time, doesn’t mean it will be problematic. That all depends on you, your teacher, both of your personalities, expectations, and how you interact with one another. All teachers are different, and it has nothing to do with their age, or even your age for that matter. You could be lucky and get a teacher that is professional, courteous, full of knowledge about the subject at hand, and understanding of their students’ needs’. Or, you could get a teacher that has no idea what they are doing, makes class difficult for everyone, and doesn’t really know how to do their own job. Therin lies the problem. Age has very little to do with interactions inside of a traditional classroom or within an on-line class. The age differences of all students may pop up from time time, as in all other aspects of life. This is especially true at the beginning of the semester. However, people are people, and mature adults know how to be mature adults. In most cases, teachers and instructors know how to do their jobs well, just the same. Nobody has to be uncomfortable about any age gap in class, unless someone makes a big deal of it. A mature adult most-likely doesn’t care how old their teacher is-as long as they do their job properly. If there are issues, here are a few simple ways to quell them:
~Be the bigger person
If your ‘young teacher’ bothers you in ways of maturity, or you feel that they are treating you in a negative way solely because of your age, try to ignore it. At the same time, if you have an issue with your teacher being too young, try to focus on the content in the class. If the teacher doesn’t do his/her job, that will become evident in all of the students’ work, not just your own, or just the older people. A teacher may not be effective as a teacher, period, without age being a factor. If the problem is subtle, you enjoy the class, you like and are comfortable with your classmates, overlook it. If your grades become an issue, however, you might want to approach the teacher and inquire if you are missing something or doing something incorrectly. Usually the teacher, no matter the age will accommodate you with information. If this does not work, speak to another mature classmate to see if they too have a problems. If there are more than two people having an issie in the class, you can speak about it to the head of that subjects department, without your teacher even knowing. If there are no major problems, be the bigger and more mature person and ignore it.
~Speak to the teacher
Mature adults are not likely to approach a teacher in a rude or immature way. Thus, if you are having difficulty, speak about your issues with the teacher. There could be a misunderstanding between the both of you because of an age gap, but that is unlikely. If the teacher is doing her job improperly, she is most-likely doing it to all of her students. This means that she is not singling out the older adults because she may think that she is better, cooler, or smarter than the adults. That is less-likely to be the case. The teacher may, in fact, be intimidated by those students that are older than she/he. If all of that can be avoided with a simple conversation before or after class, then that is certainly worth considering. It could mean a world of difference for not only your progression in the class, but also the Instructor’s progress. You could be a person that turns her into a better teacher.
~Avoid traditional classes
If you have an issue with the age of your instructor, take an on-line course. This way, you know very little about the teacher in the way of appearance or age. This will put both you and your teacher on an even playing field, and you may feel as an equal. The Instructor may also feel as an equal. If in your virtual classroom you are mild mannered, have great grammar, make good points and evaluations of the class material, and participate in the way that the teacher asks, you are more likely to succeed. Of course, it should be noted that on-line courses are much different than traditional courses. So, if you are not comfortable doing this, it may cause worse damage for you. Keep that into consideration.
If your teacher is younger than you by a great deal, that doesn’t mean there will be any problems at all. Remember, age is just a number, in many cases. You are also there in class for a reason, and so is the teacher. You are there to learn, to discuss, to broaden your horizons and become a smarter person. The teacher is there to lead the way. Remember also, that the teacher has also once been in your shoes and so knows what students expect and how they behave. She may be trying to help you more than anything. If you feel an edge where there may not be one, remind yourself that the class won’t last forever, try to make the best of it, and know that in the end, you will have gained more coming out than you had going in.
It could be awkward being taught by someone who is the same age as your own children, perhaps. But keep in mind that since the instructor is younger, they will take a more fresh approach, and perhaps teach you things that you might not have ever realized or known before. Teachers today are more technologically advanced than they were ten years ago. Teachers are aware of FaceBook, and Twitter, and texting and smart-phones. You can learn from them in this respect, and that way, your kids won’t make fun of you because you are slower than they are in this event-you may even surpass them!