i was listening to a new yorker podcast with malcolm gladwell (yes, i’m on a gladwell kick i guess) and this one was about the nature of geniuses, in specific geniuses at young ages versus geniuses at later ages. it was an interested conversation that he had with the interviewer and it began with painters and poets, eventually moving to musicians. it got me thinking about teachers. i remember in graduate school having a great debate about the assertion that great teachers are that way due to their nature, not because of how they were nurtured through the education process. however, i never gave much thought to that age of a teacher other than perhaps it being a function of their experience, which is what i focused on. is it possible that the sum of a teachers experiences in the classroom would develop them into a better teacher? i know that young teachers lack perspective but they also lack the cynicism that i see in some more experienced teachers that i see. this is NOT an indictment of experienced teachers, but there is a reason why their are urban legends about the jaded teacher who does nothing but gripe in the teachers lounge. back to gladwell, you rarely will find a new teacher who is a master teacher, generally it is though experience and lessons learned that master teachers get that way. i think you could find some that are quick studies though. i wonder what a study would yield if we looked at classroom teachers when they retired. would we find more that loved what they did every day, or more that were eventually just counting down the days? would we find teachers who were better the day they stopped teaching than the day they started?