50 Signs That You’ve Been Teaching a Long Time

Teachers share what the world was like when they began their careers.

Teachers from the 1950's -- teaching a long time
Source: UMass Lowell

Recently we asked our friends on WeAreTeachers on Facebook to tell us how long they’d been teaching without telling us the number of years. Check out their hilarious responses and see if you can guess the year they started!

You know you’ve been teaching a long time when you mark time by generations.

A photo of Britain's oldest teacher with a young student -- teaching a long time

Image Source: Daily Mail

I taught the grandchildren from my first class of students. —Vicki P.

One of my first fifth graders is now a colleague and our school wasn’t her first teaching position. —Kate M.

I have been teaching longer than my teaching partner has been alive. —Raquel C.

I have taught in two centuries. —Mark B.


The kids in my first class are in their fifties. —Patricia F.

Styles have really evolved.

Two girls wearing bright 80's style clothing -- teaching a long time

Image Source: Aubrey-Desiree’ Francois/Pinterest

I thought I was super cute with my denim overall dress, hair pulled back in a big bow barrette pony, and white Keds. —Amy S.

My interview suit for my first job was double breasted with shoulder pads! —Dee L.

All the girls were wearing High School Musical shirts. —Bruce H.

There was a lot of big hair! —Michelle W.

I wore chunky jewelry with alternating pencils, apples, yellow bus, and ABC’s. —Jackie D.

When I started teaching, I rocked a Dorothy Hamill haircut. —Karen M.

In my early years of teaching, female teachers were trailblazers by wearing pants suits instead of dresses and skirts. —Shirley M.

Well, teaching has never been about big money.

Teacher meme: You is broke. You is tired. You is a teacher.

Image Source: Lisa Varo/Pinterest

My first year’s salary was $3,600, (That was 1959-60. I’ve been retired for 20 years now.) —Dorothy K.

My starting salary was $6,000 and we had no air conditioning. —Sharon J.

And I thought $17,200 was bad! —Cheryl M.

My, how technology has changed!

Black and white photo of a 50's teacher using a mimeograph machine -- teaching a long time

Image Source: Washington Rural Heritage

Excited to get a bulk pack of floppy disks. —Bron L.

I taught music with a turntable and vinyl albums. —Donna O.

I can remember coming home from school with the scent of mimeograph fluid on my hands. — Carol H.

No one had personal cell phones or computers in their rooms. —Carla F.

My classroom had typewriters; I taught typing and shorthand! —Barbara J.

I loved my overhead “state of the art” projector. —Helen N.

I used to hate cleaning the clear plastic film roll on my overhead projector that I used to crank to advance. —Jennifer G.

When I first started teaching I remember when the filmstrip would snap and flap around until you could rush over and turn the projector off. Then reload it through to continue watching the film. —Tina L.

Mac computers came in different colors, and I used to have to cut and glue clip-art to my newsletters before photocopying them to go home. —Barb N.

Elementary report cards were still hand-written —Julie V.

So were our IEP’s!!! —Tina F.

Cultural trends that are a dead giveaway.

Student smoking area in the 1980's

Image Source: Reddit

There was a smoking area for the students. —Linda K.

Desperate Housewives was a top 10 show. —Christie F.

The Beatles were still together! —Sarah G.

People were streaking! —Candy B.

I read Jumanji to my class and then went to see it in the theater. —Michelle B.

My first year, bottle flipping, dabbing and fidget spinners were all the rage. —Emma L.

My students were all Avril Lavigne skater boi fans. —Elizabeth K.

Academics are always evolving.

The inside of a Dick and Jane book -- teaching a long time

Image Source: Judy Stutes Miller/Pinterest

I started teaching first grade with Sally, Dick and Jane books only! —Charlotte A.

We administered the first-ever STAAR test my first year. —Sara S.

I administered the first TAAS! —Larry P.

I’ve taught phonics, then whole language, and back to phonics. —Leslie P.

The National Curriculum was launched. —Edward J.

Boy, school norms have sure changed.

1923 teacher contract -- teaching a long time

Image Source: Woman’s Day

We did attendance on the green and white striped dot matrix paper. —Laura O.

Lunch hour was 90 minutes and everyone went home for lunch. —Marilyn R.

My principal actually spanked children over her knee with a paddle. —Kathy T.

I had a strap in my desk! I soon got rid of it. —Linda G.

I was told I had to wear “pumps” for shoes. —Dolores Z.

A colleague who was a veteran teacher close to retirement told me she couldn’t work once her pregnancy was physically obvious. —Jeri V.

You know you’ve been teaching a long time when you’re teaching historical events that occurred when you were already teaching.

Photo of first moon landing

Image Source: History.com

My first bulletin board read, ”They went to the moon, what did you do this summer?” —Jamis R.

I started teaching the year of the Challenger explosion. —Ellen B.

My first year was the first year of the first Earth Day! —Mary Ann L.

There was no Title 9 for high school girls. —Julie R.

The Berlin Wall still stood, Christa McAuliffe was still teaching and Hurricane Alicia welcomed me to Texas. —Lisa M.

Reagan was President. —Judith S.

I student taught the year of 9/11. —Kori K.

Have you been teaching a long time? What was the world like when you began teaching? Share in the comments below. Plus, 30 Things Today’s Students Will Never Understand.

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50 Signs That You've Been Teaching a Long Time