Question: I am graduating in the spring. I will be only 22 years old when I start teaching. Do you have any advice for dealing with parents and staff who might think that I am too young to do the job?

Adele Brodkin: The most likely negative response to your youth may be envy; so don’t mistake that emotion for a lack of faith in your ability. It is your own self confidence that needs bolstering. Learn everything that you can while you are in school, especially from senior teachers during any practicum; and recognize that you, just like all the rest of us, will have a lot more to learn on the job. That is an exciting prospect and not as daunting as it now feels to you. In fact, very often, youthful energy and enthusiasm more than make up for limited experience. And I have noticed that more parents are delighted to see their children assigned to a young teacher than not. They know you’ll remember what it is like to be in the classroom, “on the other side of the desk”, since you are a very recent graduate. So, talk to experienced teachers whom you respect, observe them in the classroom; recognize that you’ll be prepared with your up to date schooling, believe in yourself, and the rest will follow naturally.

For more advice by Adele, check out the Between Teacher and Parent column.