A post on Reddit gained a lot of traction after a volunteer teacher asked if they were in the wrong for kicking a student out of class for being ageist. This man teaches a job skills class at his local church. He wants to help people who need help getting a job, regardless of why they need help.
He Helps the Community
He’s helped people get back into work after long layoffs, helped stay-at-home moms get back to work, and helps people regularly with résumé issues.
He’s not particularly strict but runs his class like a workplace – professionalism is the aim of the game. If a boss wouldn’t put up with it, neither will he. He had this policy tested recently, hence his posting.
What’s Your Work History?
Whenever he has a new group of students, he likes to get them to talk openly about their work history, so he can gauge what they need help with.
This Is How It Used to Be Done
The class has a lot of middle-aged and older students in it, and they talk about their work experiences.
One student mentioned that they got their previous job by walking into the workplace and asking about work – a common occurrence, especially back in the day before long online applications.
An Ageist Comment
A younger student overheard this and muttered “peak boomer” when they heard the story.
She Doesn’t Understand Their Struggle
This annoyed the original poster (OP). He explains that younger people don’t realize the struggle some older people have trying to gain employment.
Things have changed so much, even just in the last year, that many older people are stuck and unable to work.
He’s Passionate About This
A generation that promised a job for life at 17 is now being forced to resign or lose their jobs, and there’s no one around to help them navigate this new job market.
The OP explains that while younger people love to insult the older generation and their job market, they’re both in the same boat at the end of the day.
No one should struggle to find employment, and comments like “peak boomer” don’t help anyone, especially in a job skills class.
She Chides in Again
As the group continued to share their stories of finding work by talking to managers, the younger student butted in again, calling their work ethic “boomer energy.”
Now, this further annoyed the teacher. Younger people shouldn’t take their frustration at the job market out on the older generation.
The Old Methods Are Still Appropriate!
He explains that the method of walking in and applying shouldn’t be laughed at and could still be helpful today.
“Some younger people don’t realize the importance of establishing rapport with your potential employer.”
He often explains to his students that there is still a lot of value in showing up to a business while looking professional and asking many questions, even if they guide you to an online application.
He Gave Her a Warning
He explained this to the younger student and warned her that she needs to be respectful to other people – just like you would need to be in a place of work.
She Just Didn’t Care
However, she didn’t take his warning into account, and a few minutes later, she said, “ok, boomer,” out loud, causing the OP to kick her out of his class!
Very few bosses would put up with those kinds of passive-aggressive comments for long, and she needs to learn basic respect; otherwise, she’ll never flourish in a place of work.
He Just Wants His Pupils to Respect One Another
OP explained that his wife thinks he’s in the wrong because the girl needed help, but he thinks she was being unreasonable and rude. Respect is mandatory in a job skills class where people are trying to get help for their situation.
She Took It Too Far, Over Nothing
These older people weren’t saying anything remotely “boomer-ish” and were just giving an honest assessment of their job history.
Her Attitude Stinks!
He can’t allow this younger pupil to remain in his class and make ageist comments to his other students.
He thinks the whole attitude that a generation of people has a warped view of reality is entirely unfounded – in his line of work, he meets his fair share of older people who are all decent folks!
She Thought She Was More Important
To top it off, he’d told the younger pupil that she was being disrespectful, and she ignored him just to give an unnecessary insult at someone in the same boat as her.
Just because this younger pupil needs help doesn’t mean she takes priority over the older generation, and ultimately the entire incident comes down to her lack of respect.
She Needs to Learn Her Manners
He thinks he can take comfort that hopefully he’s taught her a life lesson about her attitude, but he is still wondering, “Am I responsible? The girl needed help.”
Reddit Users Respond
Redditors overwhelmingly agreed with this teacher’s actions. The top-rated commenter said, “She needs to learn some social skills, you did your job and taught her about consequences of being mean.”
What do you think about this story? While the girl was definitely out of line for being ageist, should he have still helped her? His warnings did fall on deaf ears after all.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wolfgang Zwanzger. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.