22nd February 2008 at 00:00
Are there camps of different ages in your school? Do the oldies sit and moan and the young teachers run round like headless chickens?

Sara, Essex

A: Yes, there are two age-defined groupings, but there is also a third: staff who are too old to stick with the youngsters, but not quite far enough into their dotage to align with the oldies.

They tend to bounce between the two groups. When they want to be cool they hang out with the youth squad, but when they want advice, you'll find them in the other corner.

Richard, West Sussex

A: As the great Indiana Jones says: "It's not the years, it's the mileage." I've known some wonderful older newly qualified teachers with the zeal and energy of a much younger recruit; but those of us in the second half of our careers feel the need to pace ourselves a little.

We've simply recognised that a teaching career is a marathon, not a sprint.

John, Warwickshire

A: There is no distinct division of labour within staffrooms between oldies who sit and moan and youngsters who run around like headless chickens.

We are a profession united by one thing, regardless of age or even seniority: we moan, whinge and mutter pretty much from day one until retirement

Rod, Middlesex

Coming up

Q: In our school, pupils' mobile phones are confiscated by staff. But one member of the senior management was seen messing around with pupils having pictures taken. What should we do about this apparent double standard?

Q: Some teachers believe many of our low-ability pupils are capable of sitting exams (Sats, GSCEs), but our special needs department seems to want to withdraw them. What is the best way to handle this?

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