August 18th, 2009

New year

Another school year starts with in-service on Thursday. It might be my last, having started this job of teaching in 1967 and never once since then missed the new year starting over since then. I have pretty mixed feelings about this one, naturally. I am dropping one class and going to part time, which should free up some of the recuperative time I need to keep going full speed in class. It does mean a significant drop in pay, but retirement will force us to manage money, anyway. I will be making social security and pension decisions as the year goes on. If I am happy at the end of the year, and healthy, I might agree to drop to three classes next year, but only if they ask me to do that (which I doubt is likely).

The bigger issue for me right now is how to change my habits about my daily commitment to the school. All my years I have been a sort of twelve hour a day kind of teacher. I would be around after school until six or seven, etc. I would drop in on after school activities, schmooze with the kids, watch the volleyball or wrestling, etc. It has had its rewards in my strong relationships with the kids. I tend to be the father figure who is there when their own dads can't be there. That sort of thing. I am going to try to cut way back on my volunteer presence. I will keep my athletic commitments but pull away from other stuff. The new generation of teachers tends to take a more practical attitude; they teach and leave and don't do other things unless paid to do it. It makes me a dinosaur, though, and I am now getting too old to maintain. So I am skipping things where my presence is just one more in a crowd. Being part time should give me the freedom to manage my time, and I want to try to do it. We will see how successful I am. One thing, though. The school can't cut my salary and expect the same involvement I have had on a daily basis over the years. Nope.

The principal himself said that as a part time teacher I can leave school early. I am going to give it a try.