Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dear Michigan,

You owe me.  Big time.  This year, in the midst of our nation-wide budget crisis, you presented one solution to local school districts who are scrambling to balance their budgets: a retirement incentive for teachers.  The hope was that with enough retirements and expen$ive teachers gone, layoffs could be avoided.  An additional benefit was that these older, burned-out, wizened teachers would be replaced by more affordable, younger, enthusiastic teachers.  How could a district lose?

I'll tell you how they lose.

They lose a career's worth of experience.  They lose 30 years of having learned what works well in a classroom. They lose years of having learned to read each student and the knowledge of how to respond to that student.  They lose  understanding of how to go around red-tape to find help for a student.  They lose the courage experience gives in how to communicate confidently with an administrator, angry or frightened parent, defiant student, and more.

There will always be teachers who need to go - teachers whose attitudes and abilities are better-served elsewhere.  But the teachers who are retiring this year?  Well, some of them are dearly loved by our family.

We'll miss the way she helped our child gain confidence and discover talent.














We'll miss the way she taught our child that the best effort is the only effort worth giving in any task.













We'll miss her even-temperament and how our child's face lit up when he saw her in the audience of his musical.















We'll miss the way she got to know our child who didn't think he wanted anyone to know him, and the dream he had of one day marrying her.















So, Michigan, you owe me.  Let's do the math:  approximately $75,000 per year times the 27 cumulative years my children have left in school, less the $35,000 per year the newer teachers might earn. That leaves $1,080,000 of career experience your incentive owes my family.

We'll gladly take our incentive in the form of a check or cash.

15 comments:

unmitigated me said...

Lots of the newer folk coming in are second-career folks, like I was when I started. And so many of those older folks needed to retire YEARS ago, because they are only doing it for financial reasons. And where I worked? Those oldsters were making 90,000+! There can be a bright side, too.

Lucy and Ethel said...

I'm so sorry to hear you're losing such teacher treasures to the 'solution' (ha). In Randy's former school county, they gave pink slips to everyone who had been there 3 years or less and told them to reapply for their jobs (that saved the county from having to issue tenure). They can't rehire all of the teachers, thanks to some fooli$$$$$$$h decisions made by the former school board, and some of their actions have been quite incredible... and not in a good way.

While I know there are plenty of older teachers who lost their passion years ago or perhaps never should have entered the teaching field in the first place, I hate to think of the bright, creative teachers our kids had who would have been in the 'retirement incentive' group.

Report when that check come in.

Lucy

Grandma J said...

Some things can never be replaced. Your retiring teachers are gems.

Christy said...

My dad was a teacher for 35 years and it gave me an insight to the learning institution. There is a definite break in the line of common logic that says our future is those same kids who need to catch the learning fever. Money is what talks, but we need to invest in our future. Great post!

Mental P Mama said...

Great post! And let's hope the jobs they have done so well will continue to resonate in the ears of those children lucky to have had them....

Busy Bee Suz said...

It looks like your kids have been given wonderful gifts in these teachers. Lets hope the newbies will acquire some of these same skills too.

Nancy C said...

Amen, Amen, Amen.

Betty said...

Sorry to hear about so many retirements. It´s so important for a child to have a good teacher.

joanne said...

nothing, nothing can replace a good teacher, no matter the price. Your kids were blessed to have known them...

Aging Mommy said...

I like the way you approached this topic and how you have paid such a wonderful tribute to the teachers who have especially touched the lives of your family. I totally agree, age is not the issue, a good teacher is a good teacher regardless of and more often because of, their age and experience. Really good teachers are like gold dust, they can do so very much to positively impact a child and are never forgotten. The one teacher who was this for me I always remember.

Holyoke Home said...

My dad was a teacher who retired during the last shitt-ay economy due to an incentive package. I'm so grateful to read something positive about teachers!

Mrs4444 said...

This is a wonderful post. That said, I can't help feeling bummed out that yet again, I will have to teach with a terrible teacher who should have never gone into teaching and who was due to (and should have)retired last year.) The only good thing is that those kids will have me in there to take the edge off.

Kelli Nørgaard said...

I love this post....
such true words..
and such great tributes to great educators!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Great Post Caution. Our school is loosing some of it's best this year too. =(
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imbeingheldhostage said...

Brilliant post Caution. I wish the right people could read it!