Britain's oldest teacher, 82, has 'no plans to retire soon'

Britain’s oldest teacher, 82, has ‘no plans to retire soon’ and says: ‘As long as I can stand up straight and talk, I can do anything’

  • Eric Jones, 82, from Worcs. has taught 4,000+ pupils in career spanning 54 years
  • READ MORE: Britain’s oldest nurse, 80, finally calls it a day after an astonishing 65 years caring for others in the NHS

Many UK workers eagerly await retirement, but for one workaholic teacher, nothing sounds worse.

Grandfather-of-five Eric Jones, 82, based in Evesham, Worcestershire, is believed to be Britain’s oldest teacher after a government push encouraged him back into the classroom.

After the pandemic, Eric was one of the thousands of retired teachers called in by the government to cover staff shortages and help children catch-up, after officially leaving aged 61 in 2001.

The father-of-two, who moved from London to the West Midlands with his wife Vivienne, 77, for their retirement jumped at the chance to get back to teaching.

Eric first started teaching in 1969, working in schools across London before officially retiring in 2001 aged 61, and has taught an impressive 4,000 pupils RE and English since – and one of his pupils from the 1960s has even become a grandfather.

The grandfather-of-five has taught at least 4,000 children Religious Education and English since he started his career in 1969

Pictured is Eric Jones, 82, who is believed be the oldest teacher in the country and wife Vivienne at the Buckingham Palace Garden Party, 2019 

He said: ‘I just love teaching, just standing in front of a class of students is thrilling.’ 

Eric currently works two days a week and covers various subjects at schools in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire.

He said: ‘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. 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.

Eric sat with his wife Vivienne, at their home in Evesham, Worcestershire 

‘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’.

However, as he returned to the classroom following some time away, he realised that there were new challenges in teaching younger generations – such as the presence of mobile phones 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. 

‘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.

Eric, 1967, at Westhill College, part of Birmingham University training to be a teacher

Eric, about 1943, aged two, with mum Mary Jones, while dad was still in Belgium during WWII

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

The biggest difference Eric has noted in pupils these days 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 realised 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’.

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