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Grow, learn and reinvent
Katie Waldegrave: Now Teach
BY PETER BOWES | WEDNESDAY AUGUST 10, 2022
More and more people are re-training rather than retiring as they age. Reinvention is the preferred option for some of today’s boomers, who are enjoying good health and vitality. Not only are older people sharing the wisdom of their years with younger generations, many are discovering that they have the energy and enthusiasm to take on an entirely new career. Katie Waldegrave MBE is the co-founder of Now Teach, a UK-based charity which promotes the employment of older people as teachers. Katie is a vocal campaigner against ageism, which she says can start at a very young age and can even impact how long someone lives. In this interview, she explains the how Now Teach is helping people realize their dream to start again, go back to college and acquire the skills needed to launch a new chapter in the classroom – and their lives.
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“It’s going to be learn, work, learn, work … and relearn and change. And that seems interesting to me..”Katie Waldegrave
This episode was sponsored by Vitality Pro Longevity Supplements, here to offer the latest products in longevity science focused on improving and supporting your health as you age. LLAMA podcast listeners can receive a 5% discount on its products. Use the code LLAMA at checkout – www.Vitality-Pro.com
Topics covered in this interview include
- Young children expressing ageist views and why it could be detrimental to their long-term health
- Why are don’t talk about age and why it matters
- Teaming up with a like-minded friend to launch a charity to help people retrain as teachers
- Does it require a leap of faith to start again at 60?
- What does it take to go back to school, re-train and embark on a new chapter?
- Addressing the fear of being “too old”
- Embracing a rejuvenating, energizing, exciting experience
- The benefits of a multi-generation approach to the classroom
- Expanding the idea – Now Foster?
- The joy and thrill of not knowing what’s next
Affiliation disclosure: This podcast receives a small commission when you use the code LLAMA for purchases at the following companies. It helps to cover production costs and ensures that our interviews remain free for all to listen.
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This interview with Katie Waldegrave was recorded on June 29, 2022 and transcribed using Sonix AI. Please check against audio recording for absolute accuracy.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:00:01] When I think about my own attitude to aging and growing older, I’m sure I’m much more optimistic about it than I was five or six years ago, because I’ve seen people just turn their lives completely upside down, finding themselves doing things that they hadn’t imagined for a moment they’d be doing.
Peter Bowes: [00:00:18] Katie Waldegrave is an anti-ageism activist and a campaigner. She co-founded the UK based charity Now Teach, which promotes the employment of older people as teachers so their experiences and wisdom can be shared with younger generations. Hello again. Welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. I’m Peter Bowes. This is where we explore the science and stories behind human longevity. Now there is clearly much more to living a long, healthy, fulfilling life than diet and exercise. Two topics that we, I think quite rightly, spend a lot of time on during this podcast. During this episode, we’re going to explore societal attitudes towards growing old and how negative impressions of the aging process can start at a very young age and possibly influence how long we live. How long you live? Katie Waldegrave, welcome to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:01:14] Thank you very much for having me. And I’ve never heard myself described as an anti-agist, anti-aging campaigner, but I like it. So thank you.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:22] Well, I’ve read a few of the the articles that you’ve written, and I think that’s what you do and you do it very effectively.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:01:29] Thank you.
Peter Bowes: [00:01:29] I just want to start with that final thought from my introduction, that ageist attitudes can actually start at a very young age, and there is research to back this up that it could actually affect how long you live.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:01:42] It actually does. And this is what I find totally fascinating. So as you say, a lot of research showing it starts very, very early on. I’m interested. I have three small children and I’ve begun to notice that the six year olds already use old as a sort of pejorative, as a kind of. And I think they get it from books. You know, there’s they’re always I mean, you get some wise witches or wise wizards, but a lot of older sort of, you know, Roald Dahl and people are full of old is generally bad. So it does start early. But just as you say, that is bad for the current older people, if you like. But overwhelmingly it’s also bad for that younger agist person that if we have older if we have agist, attitudes, assumptions around decline and sort of things all getting worse the older we get, then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. And actually as a teacher, which is my background, that makes perfect sense when you think about it. The first thing you learn when you learn to teach is how much it’s about high expectations and how much pupils will fulfill the expectations you place upon them. So of course, of course. If we think that we won’t take exercise at 70 or whatever it is, we probably won’t. And then we won’t be so fit. And so it all goes.
Peter Bowes: [00:02:58] And it’s interesting to me that the more you look into this, the more the the symbols, the ageist symbols are around us, whether it’s drawings in children’s books, whether it’s road signs of the older people stooped with a walking stick. Well, not necessarily. Are you going to be like that, as you say, 70 or whatever the age is? And it’s clear, it’s quite easy to see how these impressions are implanted on on young people very, very early on. And presumably, I don’t know, it’s like training a dog. The earlier you teach something, the harder it is for them to forget something. Those attitudes are going to stay with them for a long time.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:03:33] I think that’s exactly right. And so I think teaching is a particularly interesting profession for us to be thinking about that. I belong to various forums called things like Diverse Ed, which are all very important, but I do feel in education at least I don’t know if it’s the same elsewhere. That age is the sort of forgotten protected characteristic, if you like, that we talk to young people a lot. I don’t know how well we always do it, but about race, about gender, about sexuality and stuff. We are we we understand that we have a big role to play there in in challenging some of the stereotypes and some of the sort of egregious comments in society attitudes. But we we don’t really talk about age, I don’t think and I don’t want to be one of those people that adds with every problem. The answer is, well, make the teachers teach it. It’s not that, but it’s that if we, the grownups, are conscious of it and understand it, then we must. It is part of our job as parents, as teachers, as everybody else to think about, you know, to think about the messages we’re giving. And it’s such a peculiar ism in that sense, because, God willing, we’ll all get there. And yet, why are we other our future selves? So much is increasingly mysterious, really.
Peter Bowes: [00:04:42] So, Katie, just before we delve into the subject even more, tell me about your own background and essentially how you got to this point. And, and our conversation so far, I think perhaps reminds me to ask you about any influences on you as a younger person that maybe have stuck with you that you’ve with experience and wisdom, tried to shake off.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:05:02] Tried to shake off or or perhaps hold on to as well, is when I thought you were going. But I think so my, my sort of working background, if you like, is that on leaving university? I started teaching with a newly formed organization called Teach First in its first year, which is they have the equivalent in America, Teach for America. It’s essentially putting graduates into quite challenging secondary schools to to work there. And so I worked for five years, I think, in that school and towards the end of it set up a charity called First Story, which works in that sort of type of school, if you like, on creativity and literacy. So I set it up with the writer, the author, William Fiennes, really trying to do the kind of thing that happens in some of the most fancy private schools here, but doesn’t typically happen in what we tend to call challenging schools. And it was wonderful and it continues and we publish books and it’s all about trying to find give children a voice. I then did various things, including moved off to India for a bit and when I came back from India I met the writer journalist Lucy Kellaway of the F.T.. She was at that stage 57, I think, and beginning to think that maybe her days at the F.T. She loved it in one sense, but actually she also knew she wasn’t learning anything anymore. She wasn’t necessarily getting better at her craft, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to do it for the next 20 years. And she was thinking of becoming a teacher and was interested in my experience as someone who’d been a teacher but also set up a social enterprise. I had just had twins a couple of months earlier, so I was just in the market for an adult conversation and she came for a coffee in the morning and she stayed all day. And by the end of that Now Teach, I think, had been born really. And the idea for Now Teach was simply whether would there be some other crazy people like Lucy, who’d had long, successful, interesting careers or who would consider jacking it all in starting again, by definition being bad at something for a while, at least because you are when you start to teach in the interest of being useful, of returning to the community, of working with younger people, of some sense of sort of giving back. And, you know, these these phrases are hackneyed but but real, I think, as you begin to look at the work next. So we started on a wing and a prayer. Not sure if anyone else at all would join us. And we made lots of mistakes along the way. But I think in that instinct that there would be other people in that boat. After all it said generation ago, it’s sort of 57. You were probably thinking, well, not that long ago and long to hold on until I sort of golf or whatever you do. And now at 57, that’s neither desirable nor feasible for lots of reasons. And so we’ve now got this this drive of 500 teachers will be closer to 700 by September. And it’s been incredibly humbling and a sort of fascinating experiment in a way to do that. So that’s that’s now teach and what I guess I’ve been focusing on doing for the last, well, six years because the twins are now six.
Peter Bowes: [00:08:03] It’s fascinating. And what I’m curious about is and I’m in that age group, I just turned 60 a few months ago and a lot of people in my profession, the broadcasting and journalism profession, they get to this age and might have spent 30 years with whatever broadcasting organization and decide that, as you’ve eloquently described, now isn’t the time for retirement. For a lot of people, it is time to do something. But taking that leap involves a leap of faith for a lot of people. It involves a brave decision to turn their back on what they’ve been doing and to try something new. So I’m just wondering, from the people you’ve spoken to that have done this, what is the thought process?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:08:40] Well, I think for a lot of people, there’s been a niggling idea of teaching or changing more broadly for a long time. And I think, too, that it often takes a life event. So people might have had that thought they might even have semi seriously investigated it at some point and then usually. Yeah. I think I would say usually there’s something like a parent dying is quite often a trigger. Children moving out, perhaps a divorce. Lucy had all three of those actually within sort of swift succession and perhaps just make people think with a slightly greater degree of urgency that this is the time. You know, it isn’t going to go on forever. Or indeed that if it’s, you know, children moving out say that actually, you know, weirdly, you suddenly become a little more time and perhaps even cash rich then you’ve been for, you know, 20 years. And that makes you reassess what you want to do with that time as well. So that is often a kind of there’s often a more personal, immediate trigger to something that kind of has been rumbling along underneath for a while can be dissatisfaction. I think more often it’s less dissatisfaction with what everyone is doing. But but the sense of not learning and not getting better, I think matters sort of not looking ahead with excitement or indeed with anxiety, which is part of both of those things, I think.
Peter Bowes: [00:10:06] And what do you say to people who might have a yearning to to start learning again, but also a fear of starting to learn again? Because learning for a lot of us was 30 or 40 years ago in school and in college or university. And it wasn’t always a pleasant experience. It was for some of that time. It was just something you got through to get on with your career and you couldn’t wait for it to be over. And I think that feeling might stay with you, even though you feel like you want to do something new. You want to get those, you want to glean that knowledge. But something might be in the background saying, hang on a minute.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:10:40] I think the fear is very real, even if even if perhaps you quite enjoyed learning then or enjoyed formal education. And yes, certainly if you if you didn’t. Having said that, all now teachers, I think, without exception, would say that there is something rejuvenating as a word that comes up a lot, which is odd because it’s exhausting and tiring and all the rest of it. But some of those things that we actually we associate with being young because there are things we do when we’re we’re young, is to is to be learning, is to be afraid. It’s to be not sure we’re going to get it right that that sort of part and parcel of being young and actually, weirdly, perhaps counterintuitively, it’s something people quite relish experiencing again, because they haven’t done it for some time. And in a funny way, although it is tough being in that position when you’re older and you’ve expected to become you know, you’re very good at what you do when you’ve been used to being that person who knows exactly what they’re doing and can explain to incompetent people like me how to put the microphone and all the rest of it to not be good at things tt’s hard, but there is also a way in which you have a greater confidence than you did when you were 21 and proving yourself. You know, you can do this. You don’t quite judge yourself entirely on whether or not you can do the next thing. And so it’s a different kind of fear. But people, you know, I have been endlessly humbled. We weren’t honestly sure we would find people who thought this was a good plan. But I think there’s something really exciting. And when I think about my own attitude to aging and growing older, I’m sure I’m much more optimistic about it than I was five or six years ago, because I’ve seen people just turn their lives completely upside down and find those doing things that they hadn’t imagine for a moment they’d be doing. That’s energizing and exciting in itself.
Peter Bowes: [00:12:30] And is this something invigorating about the process of learning? Of course, by its very nature, you will be learning potentially alongside people who are significantly younger than yourself. Is there something invigorating about the generations mixing together like that?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:12:45] Yeah, and as you imply, it’s a two way process or three way if you include the sort of the younger teachers and the younger students, you know, it’s we don’t do enough of that. And I think probably COVID exacerbated that. But it feels like that’s been a trend over many, many years is to split the generations more than than would have been the case in the past with more. You know my husband’s Indian. I said we lived in India for a while and it is much more common to have multigenerational families at home and so on there. We don’t have as much as that and I think that’s where the kind of works both ways, doesn’t it? Assumptions about what young people are like and assumptions are what old people are like are only really possible when you don’t know that many of them because because you can’t generalize about everyone. So, yes, I think it works both ways that people get great depth. And one of the things I’ve loved is hearing stories of how, you know, whilst there may be a 26 year old teaching the now teacher how to teach and getting them reengaging with the science curriculum or whatever it is and being the absolute expert there, they may at one at the same time be being guided through why it is quite important to sign up for a pension and how they could perhaps be thinking about their own career or you know, how to sign up for a mortgage, you know, life stuff that is. And I love that those kind of shared learnings that will happen inadvertently. Nothing to do with teaching really.
Peter Bowes: [00:14:06] You’re listening to the Live Long and Master Aging podcast. Our guest is Katie Waldegrave, co-founder of the UK charity. Now Teach, just picking up the thought and the strand of our conversation just now. I think one of the great attributes of older people is the wisdom of having lived for a long time for several decades. That presumably is a great asset when you decide that you want to do something very significantly new and learn a new craft.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:14:36] Yeah, absolutely. Not least, I suppose, just the sense of time. I mean, I remember start learning to teach. I think I must have cried every day that first year. And it also felt like it was sort of all the world would ever be and that it would go on forever in some way that I never articulated to myself. And I think when you’re a little older, you’ve, you know, a year it will pass. There’s something about kind of keeping things in perspective in a different way, knowing that things change, knowing what you can hope for, that just brings a different a different way of perceiving all of that. But absolutely, you form, you know, it’s a slightly a thing that bugs me as a wise old. People are all wise and some wise young people and some very foolish old people. But you definitely, you know, if you select the right ones anyway, the Right Now teachers there’s something that is gained about the way you relate to people. At the very least, you know, you form a different type of relationship and in a way that is quite hard to articulate, but also in some ways that are very simple to articulate in that school context. You know, when I started teaching, I was teaching 11 to 18 year olds and I was 22.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:15:43] So I was four years older than these children. And that is quite complicated in obvious ways. Whereas if you are 50 something teaching an 18 year old and you probably had children yourself or likely had children, so you’re going to relate in a very, very different way. And likewise their parents, who to me were sort of terrifyingly old, you know, 45 year olds or something, are also quite young. And I would try and sound very authoritative and say, oh, well, the thing is very important that, you know, Rashmi must do such and such and such. And actually, I had no idea. And I think as a parent or anyway, doesn’t matter about a parent, an older person who is engaged with the world and younger people, you talk to parents differently. You you can sort of see it from their their side. You don’t go into a parent’s evening terrified of all these grown ups who are going to be cross. And so but it just it just is so different to my experience of training to teach. And I think I would have valued training alongside a Now Teacher.
Peter Bowes: [00:16:39] Yeah, it’s really interesting just, just hearing you talk there, thinking back to when I was at school and most of my teachers were probably quite young, I mean, significantly younger than I am now. And clearly, therefore, they’re going to relate to those people who are probably old enough to be their grandparents now teaching them in the classroom. Have you, in terms of the teachers that you’ve worked with that have gone through this process, have you heard any sort of anecdotal stories about those relationships between students and teachers that are significantly different?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:17:11] Well, I think one very simple thing, which is, I suppose, linked to age but not only age, it is the way in which now teachers talk about the things they did before. That is interesting to children. You know, the best will in the world. I at 22 couldn’t have talked about anything from, you know, whether it’s the experience of having a children or, you know, or traveling or the work I had done or the jobs, the careers. And when it came to thinking about work experience and all that kind of stuff, I wouldn’t have known really where, where to begin. So I think, you know, there’s a lot of just very tangibly different things that you bring. And I think also the funny thing is, of course, I remember when I started to teach somebody, a student saying to me, how old are you? She must have been in year seven of 11. I said, well, guess. Stupid thing to say. And you know, the guess is ranged from 72 to whatever and I was 22. The children tend to have fairly little idea. Like you say, your teachers just seemed all they seem to be fairly kind of unable to distinguish between maybe the older ones. But, you know, the older children can. But I think amongst staff there is something kind of wonderful, but not least because if you go from being a sort of acclaimed journalist, whatever you are to a trainee teacher who’s clearly not very good at what they’re doing, that’s immensely flattering as a start for somebody, you know, to think, actually, this job I’m doing and I’m now quite good at age 30, this person thinks is important and interesting and valuable enough to to give up probably salary, certainly ease and degree of autonomy to do because it’s that important. So I think that’s powerful and it doesn’t always work. We’ve certainly had Now Teachers who’ve had to learn to kind of in those first couple of years, not not necessarily give too much advice about the way the management might be wrong, which it might be. But, you know, there’s a kind of degree of.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:11] Not be too outspoken.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:19:12] To us, but it doesn’t you know, it’s not always perfect, but there is often something kind of amazing in, for example, a relationship between a now teacher and a head teacher where perhaps by age and stage, you know, by age, rather, they are very close, perhaps, but by stage, top and bottom. But it almost can give space for a different kind of relationship that the head teacher can sort of almost use as a sounding board. They’re not threatening. They don’t want the job. They tend not to want to rise sort of up in a typical fashion. They’ve done they’ve done that. They’re here to be classroom teachers. And so that can be a very valuable relationship I think.
Peter Bowes: [00:19:44] You’re obviously talking about teaching, but the obvious extension to this is what about Now Write. Now Professional Gardener. Now Compute. I mean, it could apply to not every profession for probably physical reasons, but certainly many.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:19:57] You know it’s funny you should say that because we’ve just been toying with this idea. Well, there’s two things. One is a sort of not temporarily, at least called. Now what, Twitch? Which wouldn’t in my case be about things like now garden, though I think it’s a wonderful concept. But thinking about the sort of frontline public sector roles, you know, we are in a period of huge sort of strife in all kinds of ways. As everybody knows, the economy is declining recruitment crisis in so many of these public sector roles that are completely critical. And we have meanwhile, you know, the missing million people falling out of the work place in this country at least, and I imagine similarly in the US and elsewhere. And it’s a very strange time in that sense. Meanwhile, it feels to me that with things like Ukraine and even COVID, there’s been this sort of renewed sense of maybe the importance of community and how we do need to be pulling together, not perhaps from the top, but from in a more grassroots way. So I feel like my hope is that Now Teach showed that people would do this entirely illogical thing and quit sensible, well-paid jobs, often to do something very, very hard, not very well paid, at least at the beginning. And so I’m just working on the idea of launching Now Foster. We have a huge issue here with not being able to recruit enough foster carers, and I think one could look at it in a similar way and say, you know, perhaps that gap between children living home and grandchildren, that’s a great moment to potentially foster.
Peter Bowes: [00:21:30] Just just to focus in on the precise role of Now Teach – you are there to advise people to encourage people to make the connections?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:21:38] Yes, exactly. So our job is to attract them to it, essentially to create the market, if you like, that it might be a thing worth considering. And lots of people have considered it. But you kind of want to be asked if you know what I mean. All the posters have a picture of a young person or the campaigns have been for young people. So you a lot almost everybody’s first question is, am I too old? I am. Fill in the blank. I don’t really matter what age they are, they think they’re too old. And then, you know, it’s been too long since I studied or, you know, schools won’t want me all this kind of stuff. So our job is to yes, to market, to attract, to advise. In this country at least, teacher training is ridiculously complicated. It’s one of those classic examples of a thing where you would never invent it like this, but you can’t really unpick it. So it’s wildly complicated, lots of different routes and options. So we advise and support and partner with training providers, but we aren’t the training provider itself. And then and in my view, almost the most crucially, we form a network of these now teachers and that’s where I get really optimistic is that of course it’s fantastic to have these individuals in different schools, but if you could have a group of, you know, ex accountants getting together and thinking, well, hold on here, we could we could have a different look at the way that, you know, I now understand more about how my school budget operates and we should have a think about this or X broadcasters and journalists thinking about how you might integrate some of those things into the English curriculum. You know, that’s where to me it becomes really exciting and that’s not immediate, but it’s three or four, ten years down the line.
Peter Bowes: [00:23:05] The opportunities are endless when you think about it and and you explain it in that way.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:23:08] I believe so.
Peter Bowes: [00:23:09] I’m curious. This is obviously a podcast about human longevity. It is not about living forever, but this is about living as long as we can and enjoying good health, physically good health, good mental health as well. And what I’ve learned, apart from the exercise that I mentioned, the diet, which is hugely important, but it is about how social connections, as we grow older, it’s what we do with our lives, it’s who we mix with, who we learn from, what we aspire to do in the future. It’s often about looking forward that keeps people going, especially their mental health. From your perspective, how do you view the years ahead, the decades ahead? You’ve probably you’ve thought about this much more deeply than most. You’ve gleaned clearly a lot of knowledge from the people that you associate with. But has it affected your view of the years ahead?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:23:58] Yes, I think I think it has. And you would think I would have thought about it much more perhaps than I have. But I think that what I see in Now Teach is all the things that you describe that so often as people get more senior in their job, actually, even irrespective of COVID. People sort of fit into the little kind of boxes that you and I are looking at now. You become more and more removed from from real life, real people, a real place, if you like, to travel about. And that, I think, is something that people relish belonging, as you said, to have a community. And, you know, everybody talks about the flexible working revolution, you know, working from home. It’s it’s wonderful. There’s lots of reasons. It’s great. But actually what we need as humans, I think, is a real connections and my goodness, the schools give that I more real. And a sense of purpose. Clearly, I was listening to your podcast with the wonderful Katharine Etsy earlier and her talking about that that thing of a sense of purpose and a sense, you know, she may have retired from from her day job, but she’s still writing and she’s still, you know, that sense of future possibility. I think when you lose that, surely that’s when it begins to feel very, very depressing. And so for my self, what I think I have seen and loved is the sense of of possibility of of starting again, that question that they all ask aged whatever it is. But let’s say 58, I must be too old for this. And when the answer is a resounding no, that applies to a whole bunch of stuff. And the 58 year olds ask it, the 68 year olds. You know, that seems to me the biggest lesson. It gives me hope when I’m in that stage of life with a six, six and a two year old. So sometimes it all feels a bit kind of treadmilly to get back to where we were again in the beginning with the house vaguely under control and everything’s all quite …. But the sense that I might just start again and do something entirely different and I don’t know what I’ll be doing when I’m 55. I love that.
Peter Bowes: [00:25:54] And does it help? And you mentioned Katharine there, does it help to hear the stories of other people in your same sort of age frame? Those I mean, she is an inspiration, as you say, and there are many others like that who have made that decision. At whatever age that I’m going to write another book or I’m going to design another garden, I’m going to teach another classroom, whatever the aspiration is. I think personally, I think that hearing those stories is a source of huge encouragement to a lot of people. And we live in a quite a especially the last couple of years, quite an isolated kind of world that we need to hear this.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:26:29] I absolutely agree. And I think it’s almost more than than kind of encouragement when I look at I look at my parents, who are 76 and 70 and their parents at 76 and 70 were really old. You know, that just was old. I mean, they were all pretty much at my age, I’m 41 and my mum does not look 70. Doesn’t behave in her head what 70 probably is because her in her head, 70 must be what her mother was at 70 really. And her mother’s friends and it isn’t anything like that. Doesn’t wear the same clothes, doesn’t do the same things. Doesn’t you just say the generation above mine is kind of making it up? You know, we’ve added these years somewhere in life and there’s that gymnast whose name I’ve forgotten, a German lady. They keep inventing categories for her. She’s now 105 or something ridiculous, and she’s still doing routines on the beam and stuff, you know? So it’s almost it’s more than encouragement. It’s a kind of invention of what is possible, I guess, of what the model of being, a way of being that just hasn’t been there. And I suppose people like Katharine are making up that model. There wouldn’t have been 87 year olds when she was young. Who were they? Just I just don’t think they would have been or very, very, very few with great good fortune to be that healthy and that everything else.
Peter Bowes: [00:27:46] And one thing I think that is helpful is although we’re using it in this kind of isolated world, we’re moving out of those times, obviously. But technology is clearly helpful. And you and I are talking in little boxes because, well, it’s serving a purpose. And I think there’s there are a lot of benefits to it in this world. It’s helping make the world actually, I think, a smaller place. But for those people in their sixties, seventies, it doesn’t have to be as isolated as it once was.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:28:12] Absolutely. I mean, and I think sixties, seventies feel to me at least very different to what they were. But I think of you know, I think of my aunts and great aunts in their sort of late eighties, ninety, although actually my aunt, who’s 88, still working very hard. But people can connect with their grandchildren even if they’re not in the same country. All that kind of stuff is just it must be must be so different. I know you could write letters and things, but they’re not quite the same. Not quite the same.
Peter Bowes: [00:28:38] Yeah, exactly. I just. Little story. I was working with someone much younger than me a few days ago, 36 years old I think he was and age wasn’t the topic of conversation, but I just happened to throw into the conversation without really thinking about it. I said ‘people of our generation’and I thought, hang on a sec, I’m almost twice your age. And I think it does illustrate how generations can be closer together in mindset. We were working on a project together. Doing exactly the same thing, but from different generations. When I was perhaps a child or entering my profession, I wouldn’t have had the same train of thought working with someone so significantly older.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:29:16] It’s really interesting, isn’t it? But I think it’s so important that there are those opportunities to be working on the same project with a 36 year old, because there aren’t in all industries. You know, I think we have a clichéd idea that old people are rubbish at technology. I think that is one of those things that we say and in fact that older people, often that whole internalized ageism thing I find completely fascinating. You know, my mum is always saying to my grandchildren, her grandchildren and I try and stop, but she was, oh, silly old granny. You know, I can’t remember anything these days. She’s amazing. She doesn’t. But she sort of it’s almost instinctive. She doesn’t she doesn’t not remember or not more than me, but the opportunity to do that so that when we have Now Teachers we recruit with Now Teach, I’m going to make it up maybe wrong on this, but I think we recruit more or almost as many computer science teachers as as as there are practically in the whole country. I mean, there are so few computer science teachers. So but we seem to have spotted that actually people who have made a career in computer science, this may be the time they want to go back and go and give back, as opposed to the young graduates who’ve got the world at their feet in terms of what they can do with a computer science degree. And that upends people’s ideas of what what old you know. Of course, they know far more than anyone else in the school about it. They may not know the details of Snapchat, but they understand computers in a different way. And so so having that opportunity to realize that just changes our perception.
Peter Bowes: [00:30:37] So just in closing, Now Teach has, I think, a great future. We’ve touched on lots of the different avenues that you could potentially go down. Do you have a vision of what you might be doing in a decade’s time?
Katie Waldegrave: [00:30:50] In a funny way, I kind of I hope I mean, Now Teach feels feels like a baby, so I hope I’ll always have a role in it matches with first story. But I think I suppose I sort of hope I might be doing something entirely different that I might have decided to do another qualification or gone to art school. I don’t know. And but I suppose that’s the part that feels liberating. I think that I, I honestly don’t know, I might still be doing this. And if things grow and expand, that would be wonderful. And if it still feels exciting and interesting. But it seems to me that our whole relationship with sort of education, work education, you know, this model of you learn at the beginning, then you work, then you sort of retire and then die. That’s all just got to shift. It’s going to be learn, work, learn, learn and work, learn, you know, and relearn and change. And that seems interesting to me. That seems good.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:44] Yeah, I think it’s fascinating. I think the fact that it is to some extent an uncertain future is what makes it exciting and worth leaping into.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:31:52] Yeah, yeah.
Peter Bowes: [00:31:53] Katie Waldegrave really, really interesting. Thank you very much indeed.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:31:57] Thank you so much for having me and good luck with the rest of the podcast, which I think is brilliant.
Peter Bowes: [00:32:02] And I appreciate that and good luck with everything you do. I think it’s really worthwhile and I’m gonna follow it closely. And who knows? I might be doing something entirely different in five years time.
Katie Waldegrave: [00:32:12] I was going to say, I might send you an expression of interest form just in case.
Peter Bowes: [00:32:18] There you go. We shall see. Katie, thank you. If you look at the show notes for this episode, you’ll find a transcript of this conversation and some other resources. I’ll put a link to Katie’s work and to Now Teach and you can explore it much more. The LLAMA podcast is a Healthspan Media production. We will be back with another episode very soon. In the meantime, do take care and thanks for listening.