I’ve figured that if I play my cards right, I could retire in 5 years.


I know. It wasn’t that long ago that it was many, many years until that event happened. Change is in the air for sure. Now, here’s the tough part, do we want the change coming?

I mean sure, retirement sounds great, but I know that our majority party will start looking at our retirement system, claiming it’s “a drain on taxpayers” and then, start messing with things, privatizing it, like they do with everything because someone has to make money, right?

We passed a voucher bill that will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in the name of change. We are looking at so many LGBTQ bills right now because we have to change, right? Our governor even suggested that if a book is taken out of one school library, it should be taken out of all of them.

And then there’s the change going on right now in our classrooms. Many students don’t see the need to listen to or respect those in the schools: adults and peers alike. Teachers are tired. They are worn thin from the “you are a hero” message of three years ago to the “you are groomer” message today. That change has been devastating to schools. Thousands of teacher openings have gone unfills, many have left mid-year, and many more are considering a new career.

I’ve never liked change, no sir, I have not. I’ve always been the rock, the steady one, and I’m at a loss right now. Retirement is close, but my tank is nearing empty right now. These days off have made me realize that I can’t just leave it at school. I’ve frittered this day away, but Friday, our day off because of parent-teacher conferences, I did a bunch of grading. There aren’t many professions where taking work to do on their days off is the norm. Teaching it is.

Change is not in my wheelhouse. I prefer routine, the comfort of knowing what’s coming up next. From school year to school year, that’s different too. Next year, I will be working with at least four new teachers in our middle school. That’s a third of our middle school staff in one year. I don’t make friends and connections easily, so this bothers me. In two years, I may be the last one of the old guard in our school. People talk about how “it’s a family here” and to some extent, I agree. But those first years, we worked together, had drinks together, and go to know each other as people, not just co-workers. True, a favorite walking hole for teachers closed up, but we don’t do that anymore, and it’s tough to get to know someone as you are running to the office to make copies.

A friend of mine is retiring next year and she says she has 2 semesters left, which is very cool. At the end of this year, I will have 58 semesters as a teacher (29 years for those non-mathletes out there!). Teaching has taken me to great places and allowed me to do great things. I’ve had the privilege of teaching with some of best teachers out there and teaching/coaching some amazing students. I will never regret being a teacher, no matter how many people call me names, talk the profession down, or tell me about my “summers off”. I’ve impacted lives and made a difference, which is very cool.

I’ve seen the change in my profession, in the students I teach, and the way the general public looks at us. One can hope during these five years (or maybe more), someone will create change for the better, giving us in the profession some legs to stand on and a little respect.