The Journey Begins
Oct. 23, 2021
My husband, seriously started this retirement talk at the beginning of this school year. Yes, I am a middle school teacher. I am a special education teacher working in three co-taught language arts classes and have one resource class, where I teach a small group of students. My husband works for the city, and works hard outdoors. He doesn't want to retire, however, while I am still working. He works here in town. I drive about an hour to my school in another county (well worth the drive, I need to add). In my state, full teacher retirement is considered to be 30 years of service, drawn at age 60. My years of service will be 25 plus some change, at the end of this school year.
Initially, my reaction was, "No way! That's like dropping out before I finish!" After hours of agonizing thought, I am now totally confused. It's true, five more years after this one would have me retiring at 68. My mother suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 67, and my father passed away at the age of 72. If genetics come into play here, time would not be on my side. But then I can make the argument that my aunt and cousin continued to work for many years past the typical 65 and are currently at 91 and 98 years of age.
I am no longer as excited about going to school. Well, I am at the beginning of the school year, but then reality sets in and I see us mandated to teacher grade level standards to a majority of students who are nowhere near grade level. We are not addressing their needs, and the students have all but given up. After all, no matter what, they are going to be passed to the next grade level. Behaviors are not great most of the time (obviously) and the pandemic just pushed nearly everyone one to two years farther behind. Frankly, I feel totally exhausted most days, and I certainly don't relish the added paperwork demands of special education. With all of this being said, retirement seems like a no brainer. I have enough years to retire, I am old enough to retire, and I am much less patient than I used to be.
I have prayed about this decision; meditated on the subject. It has been both a source of joyful conversations with my husband, and painfully hurtful arguments (I tend to lash out at those closest to me). It is October, and although I have not fully made a commitment to retire, I am heavily leaning in that direction. The truth is, I am scared. Am I making the right decision? Will this be the best thing?