In praise of re­tir­ing teach­ers

The Compass - - OPINION - — Terry Roberts

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.