23-Year-Old Teacher Reveals Why She’s The Only ‘Young Person’ On Staff — ‘They’re All Stuck’

“This school isn’t staffed by people who love their jobs.”

Young teacher smiling in her classroom. SDI Productions, Nurulanga / CanvaPro

With fond recollections of their favorite teachers and a desire to restructure a flawed institution, a great deal of young people consider a teaching profession. However, modern discourse makes the reality far from desirable. Amidst horror stories about student misbehavior and an oversaturated (yet essential) discourse about undercompensation, the route to becoming a teacher doesn’t always seem like the inspirational and courageous career it was once portrayed as. 


Despite the often controversial and unforgiving discourse, this young woman took the leap to become a teacher and was nothing short of relieved when she realized her co-workers were all much older than her. Clearly, people were sticking around, so it must be “a great place to work.” 

However, a recent Reddit post on the “Teachers In Transition” forum depicts her current fate — one that provided a lot more insight into why she was the “youngest teacher” at her school. 

At the beginning of her teaching career, the 23-year-old teacher admitted she was shocked that most of her peers and co-workers were much older than her.

“The vast majority of the teachers are over the age of 45. When I first got the job here, I thought, ‘Wow, everyone here has been teaching for a long time! This must be a great place to work if everyone wants to stay so long!’”


However, with pandemic consequences and the inherent effects of technology on new-age students, she was met with an unfortunate reality in the classroom.

“It’s been such a crappy year," she wrote. "I began to plan a transition out, but my original plan had a 3- to 4-year timeline…[it] grew shorter as I grew more and more frustrated.”



With Spring around the corner full of new promised opportunities and a fresh start, she ultimately decided she wouldn’t be returning for the next school year. With a fear of judgment from her older co-workers, she tried to contain her anxiety about breaking the news. 


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When she resigned after her ‘crappy’ year, she was surprised when older teachers congratulated her.

“I was so nervous to announce my resignation,” she admitted. “All of my colleagues are seasoned veteran teachers who have devoted their whole adult lives to this, and here I was, eight months in, admitting that I couldn’t hack it. I thought they were going to judge me.”

Despite her anxiety, the truth is that the profession is infamous for its turnover rate — not because of the demographic of new teachers, but because of the tough reality of the job. Almost half of teachers who start their careers end up leaving within their first five years, with newer teachers being 2-and-a-half times more likely to quit than tenured peers. 

So, what’s keeping tenured teachers sticking around? Studies show that it’s typically not the pay, which often is the root of teacher’s heightened job stress and exacerbated mental health struggles, but rather the job security and benefits. Especially with the job market as tumultuous as it is now, it’s safer for tenured teachers to play the “long game” with raises after a certain amount of time. 


23-Year-Old Teacher Reveals Why She’s The ‘Youngest’ On StaffSolStock / CanvaPro

It’s exactly the phenomenon that this young teacher mistook for happiness in her current district. 

“Every response I’ve gotten so far is…’If I were your age, I’d be leaving too.’ The teacher across from mine told me…that every teacher either leaves in their first seven years or stays until they’re eligible for retirement,” she wrote. “Apparently, seven years is the point at which you’re high enough on the salary schedule that leaving becomes too expensive.” 


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Older teachers admitted it was ‘too expensive’ for them to quit. 

“The fact that EVERY other teacher was over a decade older than me was absolutely not the green flag I thought it would be," she concluded. "The school isn't staffed by people who loved their job enough to stay there for 20 years. The school is staffed by people who feel stuck.” 

It’s not just teachers who feel this burden of employment — job happiness and satisfaction is dwindling across all industries as people live paycheck-to-paycheck on salaries that were considered comfortable just a decade ago. 



Of course, discourse about teachers in recent years goes far beyond their undercompensation and new-age struggles in the classroom. 

As people continue to leave the profession early, there’s growing concerns over shortages. Will there be enough educators, childcare professionals, and specialists to teach our kids in the next 5 years, once all the tenured people retire? 


Despite hiring efforts in school districts, the number of teachers has seemed to be on a steady decline. More and more teachers are either choosing to retire early, usually because of disproportionately negative health outcomes, or leave the profession altogether. 

So, for the people who’ve already sacrificed decades to the profession, it’s worth sticking out — but for everyone else, something big needs to change. Whether it’s a drastic change in compensation or a robust transformation in benefits, the educational futures of everyone depends on it. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.