Old teacher, old discipline, old premises, old equipment, old system, old books...the term "old" is not often positive in education. How can it be otherwise? Experience, surety of judgment, assurance, personality, culture, richness of contacts, knowledge, are qualities associated with maturity but not with aging.
A young graduate often knows only recipes. No doubt a good student but unable to determine the most appropriate actions. He lacks experience; he is not professionally mature. But an older, disillusioned teacher is not necessarily much better. Not up to date, sitting on outdated certainties, slow to react... Fortunately, most teachers seem almost as alert as on their first day, with the added bonus of experience. They are not "old" even if they are seniors. Respected, we'd better learn from them.
Aging is something that heralds the end. An old cheese may have more taste but it is close to becoming inedible. Old, all faculties diminish, wither, slow down, become fragile. The old becomes a symbol, the last refuge; the tribute, the museum, the history. What remains of the great teachers, professors, researchers, in addition to their works and their exploits, is the personal integrity that they have maintained throughout their career. This is also what will be attacked.
Integrity guides our actions, no matter what path we take with all its ups and downs. It doesn't get old, it sticks with us, it stays us. No doubt we can teach and apply this principle to education, to teachers, to institutions, and even to students who will one day grow old too. Old but valuable. It builds, like a fine wine.
Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]