What It’s Like To Be A Millennial Teacher

2 min


As a 28-year-old teacher, I’ve heard a lot of comments about my age. Below are some things to expect when you are a millennial teacher.

1. You will constantly be asked to defend your teaching experience and your lack of experience in general. 

No, I don’t have 20 years of teaching experience. No, I don’t have children (yet). But that doesn’t mean that I am a piss poor teacher. Good teachers should be defined by their ability and not by their age. Of course, I hope that I am a better teacher at 38 than I am at 28. If I’m not, please fire me. Please don’t expect me to be where a veteran teacher is. I’m not there yet, but I can’t wait to be someday!

2. Your students will ask what your age is at least once a week.

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Whenever I get this question, I answer one of three ways, depending on what mood I’m in.

Way 1: I’m over 18 and under 30.

Way 2: I’m old enough to be your teacher, so stop asking!

Way 3: I’m actually 55, but I’ve gotten a facelift so I look REALLY good for my age.

And, yes, I have been called every age from 18 to “are you a grandma?”. Some days are good for my self-esteem. Some days feel like my concealer is SERIOUSLY letting me and my tired ass down.

3. You will be asked to define and explain any and every term/pop culture moment that is relevant to your students.

I can scream lyrics to Juice WRLD’s “Lucid Dreams”. I can get into a heated debate with students regarding who is the better Riverdale hero: Archie Andrews or Jughead Jones. (It’s Jughead Jones, don’t even try to @ me). And I can define “guap”, “lit” “Illuminati Confirmed”, and “flossing” to any random spectator who sets foot in my classroom. If something is important to my students, it is important to me. I must infiltrate my students’ world before I am able to truly make a difference in it. I’m all about meeting them halfway!

4. You will have to work twice as hard as older educators to prove your qualifications as an educator.

I had parents majorly question my qualifications and teaching methods during my first year of teaching. Understandably, they were very wary of a just-out-of-grad-school educator working with their children. I received many emails arguing with me about grades, discipline tactics, and just about anything they firmly disagreed with. By setting boundaries with both students and parents, and by sticking to my beliefs, I was able to gain their respect. Now, instead of parents coming up to me to basically ask for a rundown of my resume, I have parents thanking me for being someone that their child can look up to.  Which brings me to number five…

5. You will become one of your students’ closest confidants.

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Your students will see you as a big sibling and you will be treated accordingly. I can’t tell you how many heart-to-hearts I’ve had with students who need to tell a non-parental adult something that they need to get off their chest. I’ve heard everything from divorce drama to custody battles to issues of neglect at home. I’m happy to lend a listening, nonjudgmental ear to any student in need.

In sum, if you work with a millennial teacher, please raise them up instead of cutting them down. We millennials get a bad rap. We aren’t entitled princesses who think we know everything. Are we bright-eyed and bushy tailed still? Sure! The harsh realities of teaching will hit us soon enough. Please know that we are eager to learn from the best so we can be the best. My age does not define me, but I’m going to use it to my advantage as long as I can.

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Abigail Courter is a fifth year music teacher at a K-8 private school in California.  She has taught general music, band, music technology, and performing arts.

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