Teaching in Retirement
A retired teacher is open to a variety of opportunities to teach again, but it may not be the same situation as before.
In many states, a retired teacher receives a pension after working a set number of years. In New York for example, a teacher can go back to the public school and work some hours, however after a certain amount of income is reached, the pension is jeopardized.
So what is a teacher, who still wants to teach, to do?
Teaching in a private school may not have the same salary that 20 years on a pay scale can provide, but the income earned will not affect a public state pension. My dad was a chemistry teacher and retired at 55 years old. After a year of staying home and engaging in an extensive stamp collection, painting the outside of our house and my brother’s house, and vacationing for a month in Florida with my mom, he happily went back to the classroom in a Catholic private high school and enjoyed the lack of administrative duties and pure teaching of well behaved students immensely. Some people just can’t relax around the house and find that they enjoy teaching as a calling. The extra income never hurts either.
For many years when I worked full time, I also took tutoring jobs once a week after school for children struggling with math and language arts. I helped with homework and as a certified reading teacher, with reading skills. I often had children come to my home in the summer for tutoring as well. Tutoring centers are always looking for qualified teachers to work with their clients. Tutoring children at their home or in the local library is always an option as well.
Start with the local library to look for opportunities to volunteer with children after school. The Parent Teacher associations at the school can also suggest ways to volunteer for events. My husband volunteered in an after school program in New York City with children one day each week. He assisted with homework and helped the kids have a healthy snack after school. COVID forced many agencies to cut back on volunteer opportunities but as things begin to open up, more after school programs will most likely need volunteers to assist with student activities.
Adjunct College Professor
I always imagined this would be fun. Teach the new teachers how to teach! I have such great experience and what a wealth of information on teaching strategies and classroom management I would be. LOL! But then I recall my teacher training back in college. It was 1984 and the teacher who gave us her highlights on teaching the subject of elementary school social studies brought in her collection of postcards. She explained how traveling and collecting postcards of places she visited helped her share her experiences with her students. Wouldn’t she be in awe with Smartboards and instant access to images of landmarks and people around the world with the internet! A college professor would be awesome, just be sure you are well versed in Google classroom, google slides, remote teaching, shared screens and all the other crash learning that teachers endured this past year during the pandemic.
This is a great option if you have a special talent or training. Retired teachers are hired by publishers of math, science and reading programs to help schools adopt their new programs with training sessions. Some teachers publish books and visit schools as an author providing assemblies or writing programs for the students. My mom, Addie Meyer Sanders, came back to the classroom as an artist after taking some time off to raise her children. She had published poems in a few magazines and was asked to come to a local elementary school as a Poet and teach the children about poems. This began a 30 year career as an author and Poet-in-Residence for grades K through college. She loved sharing her enthusiasm for writing with children and working on her own schedule.
The benefits of subbing are that you can say no. You don’t have to work everyday and can take weeks off at a time. You can request only to sub for certain grades or schools. Most schools need substitute teachers because the job does not pay that well, so you can be selective. When you get into the classroom, you get that experience of being the teacher again. The fun of teaching a lesson or reading aloud a book. The challenge of having students you don’t know pay attention and walk quietly in the hall. If you are lucky you may even end up with a colorful child drawn picture to take home at the end of the day. With children and you wearing masks, you are even less likely to go home with the cold or flu so definitely something to consider if you find yourself missing school.
Back before I had a full time teaching job, I had some experience with subbing in schools. That 5:00 am wake up call followed by looking at a map to figure out how to find the school. Yes, back when we used road maps! So after I retired in November 2020, and spent 5 weeks in Florida, and got my second vaccine, I signed up to be a sub in the school that I worked in for 20 years.
Then they started to call me. I waited until I was ready. It took a week or two and then I found a way to go on line and request which job I wanted to take. I was going to be a helper teacher with a friend of mine and thought this would be great fun.
Of course it turned out to be a Friday and as typically happens, more teachers were out that day. I was assigned to cover several different classes of previous colleagues and was excited to give it a try. The first classroom I went in to cover was a group of first grade students. Their 19 desks were spread out around the room with plastic partitions precariously balanced on the edges of their workspace. In addition, I was handed a chrome book with 3 smiling faces at home. The remote children were here for their daily English Language Arts lesson and Student of the Week sharing time. The student sharing was at home so a small 6 year old new friend helped me “pin” that child’s face to the Smartboard so it was large enough for all to see. Then our friend at home proceeded to share photos and tell us about their timeline (life story). After a dozen or so photos child at home was done and I proceeded to assist all the kids sort short and long e words on a worksheet – the remote students at home had their papers sent home last week so they were all set. Eventually it was snack time so we said goodbye to friends at home and took a mask break on the grass outside the building so everyone could eat snack. Teaching in 2021 is sure different that it used to be but we all adapt to change at some time, isn’t that the truth.
I have gone back in to school a few times and each time it has been a joyful experience. I taught a kindergarten math lesson this week, one I have done in the past. I taught a few small reading groups for the reading teacher, I assisted in a kindergarten class and brought the students to the busses at the end of the day. Even with masks covering their mouths little kids are the best, and they really just want to learn everything. That’s why I always loved teaching and I will go back in again soon.
But for today friends, I am enjoying my retirement by sleeping in, taking a long walk and lunching with my husband, and now lounging on my deck on a sunny afternoon. Ah, retirement.
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