Thursday, November 27, 2008

Future plans

A number of posts ago, Mrs. C. asked me when I was going to retire. Well, she asked for it, so she's going to get it.

I have been paying into Minnesota's TRA for more than 34 years now. This state has a rule of 90, so as of last December, I could have hung up the chalk and begun collecting full retirement benefits. The Warroad School District, however has a rather attractive twenty year package, and since I spent my first fifteen years in a different district, last year was only my nineteenth here. This is my twentieth. So that must mean that I'll be hanging it up at the end of this school year, right? Well, not so fast.

My main problem is that I have few hobbies. Warroad is the hunting and fishing capital of the world, but I don't do either of those things. I used to play golf, but I haven't done that in four years. I am a reader, but I don't want to read all day; I am a blogger, but that's not something I want to spend much more time on than I am now; I love sports, but I have trouble sitting still for a full game unless I'm involved in some way.

In fact, my favorite hobby has probably been school. I live one block from the high school, and I've got keys to everything, so whenever I get a little bored, I walk up to the school and start putzing around. The other hobbies that I have--a lot of the reading I do, the blogging--are also related to school. I know people who have retired and loved it, but I've also known people who have been bored stiff. I don't wish to join them. The bottom line is that teaching and coaching have been my life. I've loved doing them, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

Warroad was a great place for my wife and me to bring our kids when they were teenagers, but those days are long gone. Our oldest son lives in the Twin Cities which is six-and-a-half hours away, our youngest lives in Orlando, Florida, and our middle son lives with his wife in Moline, Illinois, and they are at the stage where they are looking to start a family. We would like to be able to see our kids a lot more often than we can now.

After the new year roles around, and as our hockey season begins to wind down, I will begin to look for social studies teaching jobs in the Iowa/Illinois area. I hope you won't think I'm a hypocrite when I say that I would be more than happy to accept a job in a private school--maybe a small Catholic school. Since I would be able to collect my TRA, I wouldn't need a huge salary. It's not that I'm giving up on public schools, but after my experience of moving from Mt. Iron to Warroad, I know how hard it can be to be a first-year teacher in a public school--establishing discipline, establishing a reputation, etc. It ain't easy! If I was in my thirties, that would be one thing, but I'm 57, so I really don't want to go through that again. Teaching at a private school, where they don't have to put up with some of the behaviors that public schools do, sounds pretty good.

As good as that sounds to me, I am painfully aware that schools probably won't be falling all over themselves in competition to hire a 58-year-old social studies guy. That leads to option number two. Minnesota now allows a teacher to collect TRA and earn up to $40 thousand teaching in the state. That means that if my school district was willing to hire me as a four-sevenths teacher, I could teach two less classes, have two fewer preps, and earn more money. That is a very attractive option. In my last post I did a little whining about my workload this year. I think it would be wonderful to teach four hours a day. What a great job a person would be able to do by focusing on fewer classes and fewer kids! This would also enable me to stay in hockey coaching, which would also be a lot more fun because of the lighter teaching load. Since my first year or two in Warroad, I have always felt valued here, and I would not have to adjust to new kids, a new community, new classes, and a new school.

The problem with this plan is that it would have to work out for my school. That is something I will have to talk to my principal and superintendent about. If it's something that can't be worked out, that leads to option number three. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. I guess I can live with that one, too.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't private schools be falling all over themselves to hire someone like you, unless they're stupid, Dennis. You have experience, you love to teach, you're not motivated by money.

If I were a private school director, I'd be falling all over myself to hire someone like you.

Go for it!

11/27/2008 5:57 AM  
Blogger Mrs. C said...

Oh, Dennis. If someone thinks you're a hypocrite for deciding to quit after teaching public school for 20 years, that person has a problem!! It looks like you have several options, and all of them might be good for you. You can only pick one, though. :]

I've also seen both sides of the retirement issue as well. You're two years younger than my dad and he has been retired about ten years now. I would have thought that playing golf, going on cruises and buying stuff and that sort of thing would get old after a while, but apparently it doesn't. Just so ya know.

From what I've seen on the blogs, you've always been optimistic but practical. You see the bright spots in public education, but are respectful to others with differing opinions. No doubt that's your teaching style as well.

We keep thinking when Patrick and G graduate from high school or are close to it, we may consider a move as well. We'd probably stay in Missouri just because the homeschooling laws are so good here and we're not giving account to bureaucrats each year.

11/27/2008 6:08 AM  
Blogger Dennis Fermoyle said...

Anonymous & Mrs. C., thanks for the encouragement! I'm now off for our first hockey over-nighter of the year. I can't wait to go sit on that school bus for a few hours!

11/28/2008 4:07 AM  
Anonymous M├írio Fernandes said...

Wooow, very nice this blog Congratulations!

12/04/2008 5:29 PM  
Anonymous dkzody said...

Here in California we can only earn $29K and still get our pension, but it is a very good pension. $29K is two periods at our high school so many of the retirees have done that. We have 4 this year who are doing it, and the district loves it because they don't have to pay benefits.

I'm leaving in2010 with only 21 years of teaching. I worked in industry before doing this school gig, and I plan to return to that world if I can find a place that will have me.

12/06/2008 12:22 PM  
Blogger Miss Melancholia said...

You're certainly welcome to teach at another place if you want but I would hate to see you leave. I'm very much looking forward to having you as a teacher next year. From what I've heard you really know what your doing and having someone like you as a teacher would be a blast.

Please don't go!

1/28/2009 2:49 PM  

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