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The life-cycle of a school: teachers and pupils write about age and ageing in post-war England

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Event dates
, 5:30PM - 7:30PM
UCL/Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL Room 834.
Laura Tisdall (Queen Mary, University of London)
020 7862 8740

They stay young, they stay young and they stay young, and you get older and older... That’s what I dislike about teaching', thirty-three year old Emlyn, an English schoolteacher, commented in the late 1970s. Teachers experience relational ageing throughout their working lives, as they continue to teach children of a similar age but grow older themselves, constantly forcing them to redefine what it means to be ‘old’ in relation to what it is to be ‘young’. At the same time, adolescent pupils are told to look forward to their adult lives, continually asked 'what do you want to be when you grow up?', a question which suggests that adolescence is not 'good in itself' but only valuable as a transitional stage towards maturity. By considering how both teachers and pupils thought about adulthood and growing up in post-war England alongside the changing relationship between these two groups in the classroom, this paper will suggest new ways of thinking about age and the life-cycle.