It is that time of year when schools are dealing with prom, graduation, field trips, tension over just about everything, and retirements.
I have been in education for 13 years (going on 112) and have attended my fair share of retirement parties. Sadly, none have been in my honor (keep your fingers crossed for me; only 8,089 days left… and counting).
I have learned a lot at these events. Mainly, retirements can be complicated.
I believe administrators are in a no-win situation when it comes to retiring employees.
You want to be happy for the retiree, but you can’t be too happy. If you seem too excited about them retiring, you run the risk of offending them because they may not feel appreciated.
In their last few weeks of working for the school district, you don’t want them to get the sense of no longer feeling needed. They need to move on to the next phase of their lives feeling like their time at school has been appreciated and valued.
So, each spring I find myself in this difficult spot. Sorry to see these employees go, but happy for them as they get to move on and enjoy retirement.
If my feelings towards this situation get misconstrued, trouble could ensue.
It is a fine line an administrator has to walk. A minefield really. Just like walking through gym class during a dodge ball game (how many times can those kids accidently hit me?).
I think some retirees use anger as a defense mechanism. If they convince themselves that no one really cares about their 40+ years of contributions to the school, it makes it easier to leave the job they’ve held since 1967 (seriously).
Once they are officially retired, they seem to feel better about the whole situation.
I have found that most retirees enjoy their new profession (not working… if you sense jealousy, you are quite perceptive). I have also noticed no one comes back to school looking to return to work.
Each spring, I just need to remind myself that retiring is difficult and those retiring should be treated with the utmost respect.
Retirement is very confusing to me.
Young people dream of the day when they can; older people almost approach it with a sense of dread.
I have known employees who have literally spent years contemplating the decision to retire. They think about it day after day. It consumes their lives.
Wait a second, that’s me.
You know, the more I think about retirement the angrier I get. How dare some punk administrator push me to the curb in 2030 (I just realized he or she may not even be in preschool… man, will I be old).
In 22 years, I will be ancient and angry (angrier).
That’s it. I am pulling my retirement letter (I just ripped it into 20 pieces). No one will push me out the door until I am good and ready.
I may stay forever. This guy isn’t going easily or without a fight.
There are battles to win, school board meetings to attend, eligibility to check, handbooks to write, cell phones to confiscate, dress codes to enforce, bus incidents to address, evaluations to complete, teachers to hire, hallways to supervise, games to attend…
well, on second thought… maybe I have been too hasty in tearing up that letter.
It is official. I am retiring in 22 years.
I hope people are happy; just not too happy.