Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition–Retiring and Re-Tooling

According to a report released by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future, the nation stands to “lose half of its teachers to retirement over the next decade.” Indeed, 50% of the nation's teachers and principals are members of the Baby Boomer generation, so they are rapidly approaching retirement age. According to the NCTAF report, “during the next four years, our nation's schools could lose a third of their most accomplished educators to retirement.”

In spite of this rather alarming fact, it is no secret that incentives for those approaching retirement age to stay in their chosen career are missing. The teacher bashing rhetoric that comes out of a lot of state legislatures these days has done nothing but further erode an already rock bottom-level of teacher morale. Over the course of my 30 plus year career as a public school educator, I experienced the sense of decreasing public support and respect, I suffered from the flat salaries that went on year after year, and I finally left because I could. My colleagues who continue to work share stories of issues with classroom discipline, lack of parental support and mixed reviews regarding the level of administrative support they get. That varies wildly from school to school and school district to school district.

While many of my colleagues are looking to retire, then, like me, they are not going to be ready to leave the world of work altogether. Our retirement plans (assuming we still have one) don't adequately cover all of the financial needs that we have, and we can reasonably assume that most of us are going to live long and relatively healthy lives for another 20, 30 or more years after retiring from a “lifetime of teaching”.

So the question is what to do after retirement? Many of us are extremely talented and have skills and abilities that may or may not have anything to do with what we have been doing on our day jobs for 30 plus years. This may be a chance to finally do what we have always dreamed of doing when we had enough time. The trick is to find a way to make a living–or at least to supplement our retirement savings–so that we can enjoy our post-teaching years.

The problem is that I find that many of my teacher colleagues think they can't do anything but teach. They have become used to thinking of themselves as “just a teacher,” and they don't recognize that a “lifetime” of teaching has given them many skills that easily translate to other careers and endeavors.

As one who just went through the retirement/re-tooling transition myself, I am in a position to help those coming along behind me. I have developed a practice that is based on my desire to help those of my colleagues who are struggling with the questions of “What next?” or “What now?”

If you need help sifting through the various ideas and options that you may have before you but you cannot see clearly, give me a call at 804-404-5475 or email me at kittzb@gmail.com. I am here and ready to help you. Together, we can embark upon your next exciting chapter!