A recruitment event is underway for a city school system. Teachers, support staff, and administrators are being hired for the new school year. Hundreds of hopefuls are there to mingle with current employees of the system, rub elbows with hiring managers, distribute their resume, and to network.
One applicant stops and surveys the crowd. She is a 50-year-old social worker who has not worked in a few years, but with good credentials. Her hopes of being employed again begin to fade as she realizes, "I'm the oldest person here."
She's right. She is. And her chances of being offered employment by this school system are slim because of it.
In many schools, jobs now go, not to the most qualified, or to the most experienced applicants, but to recent college graduates, those with high energy and few outside responsibilites. These are people who won't mind working 10-hour days, and who are easily molded to endorse a school's philosophies.
More experienced people, it is often reasoned, may have difficulty adapting to changes in protocol, and may lack the dynamic personalities of the younger staff. Furthermore, they demand a higher salary, and with schools struggling with a budget to operate, this can be a deciding factor in making hiring decisions.
This, then, is the question: Should the rookie teacher be hired instead of the veteran teacher because of her youthful enthusiasm, and because she can start at the bottom of the pay scale, or should the veteran teacher be given first consideration because of her years of experience, training, and unique insights that develop only through time? Might the higher salary she would be paid be worth the results she would bring to a classroom? Food for thought.