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82-Year-Old Retired Teacher Returns To Classroom, Becomes Britain’s Oldest Educator

Eric Jones, a dedicated grandfather-of-five, answers government's call to help students catch up after COVID.

Dedicated Eric Jones is believed to be Britain’s oldest teacher at 82 years old. The grandfather-of-five has taught at least 4,000 children Religious Education and English since he started his career in 1969.

“I just love teaching, just standing in front of a class of students is thrilling,” he said.

Eric worked in schools in London in the 60s before officially retiring in 2001 aged 61. The father-of-two moved to Evesham, Worcs., with his wife Vivienne, 77, for their retirement but has now returned to the classroom.

Following the Covid pandemic, the government pleaded with retired teachers to rejoin the workforce to cover staff shortages and help kids catch-up.

Eric jumped at the chance to get back to teaching and works two days a week covering various subjects at schools in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

“At the end of 2021 the government announced if any retired teachers would be able to help out in schools as the pandemic was coming to an end,” said Eric.

“It would save the schools.

“I was taken up by an agency and they send me out to secondary schools and I only do one day a week, sometimes two.

“It’s just a bit self-indulgent, I’m still teaching teenagers, 30 an hour. I’m knocking on a bit, I only do one or two days a week.

“I teach 160 odd teenagers a day, it’s quite tiring. I occasionally do two days.

“My wife and I had a dream of sailing into Sydney harbour on a cruise ship, it was dream fulfilled. So we haven’t missed out by me going back.

“I’ve sailed all over the world. I help out when I can. I might have to grow old, but I don’t have to grow up.

“I’ve been mostly volunteering and helping kids for 60 years.

“At my age it is bizarre to teach youngsters, but as long as I’m able to do it at my age I will carry on.

“I love teaching and watching kids learn things.”

He says the biggest change to modern classrooms is children have mobile phones and it can prove to be a distraction during lessons.

Eric added: “I can’t think there’s many over the age of 80 teaching, everyone says I’m an idiot.

“I’m going to carry on doing it until I keel over. I probably am the oldest teacher, but who’s going to do the survey.

“I don’t need to do it. I can control a class of 15 year olds easily.

“The agency didn’t know at the time I was 82, they just knew I was going on supply teaching.

“I taught a boy in the 1960s and he’s now a grandfather. It’s all been a gas.

“As long as I can stand up straight and talk. You can do anything. I ended up with a Year 9 Sex Education class the other week.

“The big difference is mobile phones.

“The technology is, on occasions, hugely baffling.

“There have been occasions where I’ve taught an entire lesson where I hadn’t realized it was on the smart board.

“Teaching again at my age has been an education for me too and I’ve loved every moment of it. I’ve got no plans to retire again any time soon.”


Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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