In praise of retiring teachers
There have been more than a handful of banquets and social gatherings held in honour of retiring teachers and school administrators throughout the Trinity Conception region in recent days, marking the end of careers that in some cases have lasted more than 33 years.
They have been toasted, in some cases roasted, and given an opportunity to reflect on a job they often say is both rewarding and especially challenging. They have been handed certificates of appreciation and gifts by the school board, the teachers’ association and often by their school colleagues. They have been written about in the local newspaper (see front page feature on Ronald and Janet Buckle), and later this month they will lock up their classrooms and put away their lesson planners, likely for the last time.
It’s a very weighty time for these 17 educators, who have been plying their chosen profession in the classrooms of this province, helping prepare our young people to become productive, contributing members of society. They have the very important task of guiding, mentoring and nurturing our future generations, and it’s not one for the faint of heart.
It’s a sure bet that these past few months have been filled with nostalgia as they look back, remembering the highs and lows, the successes and failures, and perhaps feeling a mixture of both relief and trepidation as they enter this new chapter in their lives. The education system has undergone many significant changes during their careers, most notably the removal of the denominational system, and the steady decline of student enrolments, leading to the closure of many “community” schools and the creation of regional systems.
They can expect the pace of change to continue long after they’ve left the classroom, with more closures and reconfigurations scheduled to occur before the start of the 2013-14 school year. Those who follow in their footsteps also face uncertainty, with fewer jobs available as the supply of teachers far outstrips the demand. It’s a phenomenon being felt across the country.
Meanwhile, many retirees will simply enjoy retirement in a quiet, slow-paced way, what you might call a “permanent summer vacation,” while others will undertake new careers or volunteer pursuits. After all, many retiring teachers are in their early to mid-50s, and still have plenty of “gas in the tank,” as they say. Don’t be surprised to see some of them on a ballot when municipal election time rolls around in September, and you may run into one of them working behind a counter or assisting customers at a local retail outlet. We met one long-retired school administrator last week who drives a school bus, allowing him to maintain his connection to the education system.
Whatever their plans, we dedicate this space this week to our retiring teachers, and wish them well.
Here they are — Patricia Babcock, Joy Brown, Paul Drover, Corinne Ellsworth, Ron Glavine, Roberta (Bobbi) Harrington, Anthony (Tony) Hunt, Stella Johnston, Selby Lynch, Clarence Mercer, Sharon Penney, Robert Pike, Winnifred Pilgrim, Clare Quinlan, Marjorie Taylor, Lynn Spurrell and Calvin Young.