How/when to Announce Retirement - ProTeacher Community





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How/when to Announce Retirement
Old 08-01-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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I have followed your stories and admired your candor in all the posts. What an inspiration you all are! I plan to retire in a year or two. I've read some books this summer and am making plans. I noticed in a post this morning that a teacher said she would do things differently if she had to do it again regarding her announcement of retirement. She felt she had announced too soon. I also have a friend who retired and told no one and was glad she did it that way. I read in a generic retirement book that those who had some kind of ritual type ending (like a reception or party), helped the retirees adjust more easily. Please share how you handled it and the timeline involved and how it worked for you. Thanks in advance.


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Old 08-01-2012, 09:55 AM
 
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In 2011, I wrote my letter of retirement and submitted it in late March. I taught in a Catholic school for 38 years so I submitted it to the pastor. Then I told the principal. I taught in a small school (125 kids). I told each teacher privately. I asked that all be kept quiet until I could tell my 4th grade class. After telling the kids, they went home and told everyone...you know how kids are. I started putting out resource books and classroom goodies so that my fellow teachers could adopt them. I purged the room of any bulletin boards, etc. that needed pitching. In time, I cleaned up my computer of my files. I made sure that I did something every week so that I could truly enjoy the end of school. Being one of the original "Book Whisperers", I had a huge classroom library. One of the last units our class did was on the Titanic. I took ziplock bags and gave each child one of the Titanic resource books I had plus some other paperbacks. I wrote each staff member a farewell note and thanked each one for all of the support and caring. Since I had given my life to Catholic education, I wanted to leave a piece of my legacy to each person. The school threw me an awesome retirement dinner and testimonial extravaganza at an events center. Of course, I delivered my "last lecture".

On the financial end, I set a goal for how much money I wanted to save until my last teacher paycheck. I did not have a pension, just a 401K. I needed money to cover six months of personal expenses until I would receive Social Security. I was able to keep my medical and dental insurances with little cost to me. I rolled over the 401K. My husband retired 10 years ago so I had other sources of income.

Congrats on planning ahead and thinking it all through. May you be graced with a joyous ending to your life's work. Thank you for being a teacher.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:52 PM
 
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Ahhh.....it's hard to follow litprof on this board, b/c she writes so eloquently, but I am happy to share my timeline with you.

During the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays in 2010, DH and I began to discuss the possibility of my retirement. For me, the joy of teaching had been almost completely extinguished due to unmotivated students/parents, and an ever-increasingly micromanaged work environment. Truly, I think DH had his self-preservation in mind as much as my own! I was bringing a lot of stress right back home with me, and that wasn't good for any of us.

At that time, I researched to find the next retirement seminar that would be held in or near my district. I chose one that was at the regional service center in early February of 2011. After that very informative seminar, DH and I crunched the numbers and discovered that I could retire, but it would mean making some sacrifices here and there. (You will find that you'll save $$$ in a lot of ways, simply by not having to buy work clothes and school supplies!)

I kept my plans under my hat until mid-March, when I told my principal. I had mailed off my paperwork that morning---at a location away from school! Feeling that I needed to give my P the professional courtesy of letting him know first, I took a week to digest the reality of putting my retirement plans in motion before telling my team.

By the end of March, I gathered my grade level team together and told them. It was very emotional, but things really ratcheted up when another member said, "Well, since we're talking about retiring..." I asked them not to tell anyone, feeling that I could trust them.

At that time, on the advice of retired PTers, I began secretly cleaning out a few things each afternoon. I had so much stuff! I sorted out the things I was going to offer to others and put them away in my cabinets. Each afternoon for weeks, I would fill my classroom trashcan. The custodian figured it out right away, but he kept my secret, bless him.

By mid-April, everyone began asking everyone else whether they were staying, transferring, moving to a new grade level, etc. I am such an open book that I decided to tell a few key people, knowing that it would soon be all over school. At that time, I told my team and my P I didn't mind if they told---but only if someone specifically asked.

Some of the reactions I got were surprising in that most were very happy for me, but a few were almost rude. It seemed like they resented me for being able to retire. Fortunately, they were in the minority and I didn't let it get to me.

Along with 4 other teachers, I had a very nice retirement reception. Several people we used to teach with (who had retired) came to the party, and it was a nice kind of closure for me.

Keep watching this board over the year, and ask questions as they come up for you. You will find us to be very supportive and informative, not to mention relaxed and refreshed.
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Retirement Story
Old 08-01-2012, 02:34 PM
 
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I had been toying with the idea of retiring for 2 or 3 years. I had attended several STRS workshops throughout my career (I needed to hear the info more than once). The 2009-2011 were a really hard years for me (really rough classes/parents and little admin support) so I went to see a benefits counselor in March 2011. I decided to wait one more school year to see if I felt any different. In September 2012, after 2 weeks of school, I came home mentally and physically exhausted (more than usual). By October, I knew it was time. I dropped little hints to my grade level team, but they didn't believe that I was serious. In December, I told my P. We decided to keep it quiet until I was ready to tell the staff. In February, HR sent an email to the P's saying there would be layoffs. I decided to resign in hopes that I could save a teacher from a RIF notice. I wrote the school board my letter intent to retire and it was approved.

Then I announced my retirement to the staff, (late February). It was kept quiet from parents until I told my students which was after testing in May.

From February to May, I started purging files and throwing away a few things. In May, I just put things out in the hall by my door and teachers took everything. When I came home the last day, I did not bring anything home, but my purse.

If I had to do it again, I would wait until after school was out and then turn in my keys and announce my retirement. However, I have to say that no one from my school was laid off and I did not have to bring all my teacher stuff home. My garage was already full.
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Timeline
Old 08-01-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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In 2002, due to the district climate of punishing workload, unreasonable expectations, soulsucking parents, and the constant threat of litagation, I starting buying available years from STRS. Its an upper income suburban district. It paid very well. When hired, I thought I'd won the jackpot. Instead I found that they had bought my soul. I started planning my escape (xcaped) almost immediately. I got out 5 years early. It was money well spent

I wrote my retirement letter and submitted it in late September to avoid another round of evaluations. Once the letter was written and my soul was once again my own, I set out to enjoy my last year. My worst parents immediately pulled their child from my caseload. They didn't want him with a "last year" teacher. My co-workers were totally supportive and happy for me. Declaring early worked out well for me. It made the year much easier than it would have been otherwise. If the other 13 years were as good as the last, I could have gone to 35


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Retired Friends!
Old 08-01-2012, 07:41 PM
 
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I'm not a planner, but I had three teacher friends who helped me with my decision. We got together every month for dinner long before we retired. Two of them were organized planners who figured out the logistics of retirement: best insurance, how to apply, how much the benefit would be, etc. They retired and had been through everything. Also my husband retired from the school district. Everyone expected me to retire, but I kept hanging in there. One day I figured out that the following school year would be my 40th year of teaching. I know... I feel young, but it HIT ME. 40 years of teaching?? That was enough. So I told everyone (ah the power of gossip!) "I've decided I'm retiring next year!" It was great to see how the word spread. Besides everyone knowing, it helped me know my decision was solid. I had to deal with the vultures circling around me lusting over my position and my classroom, but I always would say I have no power over who my principal will hire to replace me. My last year was great knowing it was my last year. I would never want to retire after a year of not knowing it would be my last. There is something so sweet about your last year. Plan for it. (I'm not a planner, but I did need to tell myself the end is near.) AND ENJOY IT! I did! I will never forget my incredible last year! But I am so looking forward to the years ahead!!!!!
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it depends
Old 08-02-2012, 03:39 AM
 
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I think when and how you announce your retirement depends on your building climate. I was "the last of the older teachers" except for one who is NEVER going to leave and so I didn't feel especially close to the staff of 20 and 30 year olds. I taught in a small district and Ohio had a huge number of teachers retire so the expectation was that I was going to leave and I was asked about it on a regular basis for the past year or two. Then, we had our first RIFs ever and the pressure was on to leave which made the decision easier but with the constant emotional cloud of impending bitterness by the younger ones if I chose to stay.

A brazen young teacher actually told my class before I ever made the announcement about my retirement. She was so eager for my position and wanted to be my new buddy when she found out... Once you tell just one person, the word is out and the vultures are in flight circling and gossiping. My principal was very cool about it and kept it quiet but I know I was a constant topic of discussion at administrative meetings (funny how that gets leaked too!). All in all, it made it a very stressful final year because of cuts, the building climate, etc. There were lots of other things mixed in too, but that is for my first book. :-)

One of the sad things in Ohio is that retiring teachers are painted as opportunists who are getting out while the getting is still good. You see news features on that all the time. I guess we aren't allowed to retire for other reasons than financial STRS panicking. So, the implication is that you didn't care or aren't one of the "dedicated" teachers if you left this year.

I think it is great to have the decision in your mind for a year so that you can plan, discard, pack up and celebrate the lasts. I found I was much calmer with the kids too.
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M&M's
Old 08-02-2012, 04:51 AM
 
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When I decided to retire after 28 yrs. I had the same dilemma.....I ended up getting M&M's printed with "I'm" on one and "retiring" on the other. I made little snack bags of them and gave them out to those who were close. I didn't tell them, I just waited until they noticed the M&M's. For some it was a few days later!!!

Anyway, in my brain I decided to retire 1/2 way into the school year. I didn't share the news until 6 weeks before the nd of school. I didn't want anyone saying I retired on the job and just had a lame duck year. My last was one of my best years. Good memories.
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No explanation needed
Old 08-02-2012, 04:05 PM
 
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I choose to wait as long as possible to tell people about my retirement because I wanted to delay "brazen young teachers" from putting me on the spot about my retirement. The climate in my school was something terrible. I didn't want to hear teachers plotting and figuring out who was going to take my position right in front me. Some teachers are so rude.

When I announced my retirement the young teachers were adding up the years that it would take before they could retire. I felt sad for them, in my earlier years of teaching I never tried to add up my years until retirement. You said good-bye to those teachers and continued to teach. It goes to show you how much has changed since we started teaching.
I WON'T buy into any teacher implying that I wasn't "dedicated" because I choose to retire this year. I'd stare them straight in the eye and say, "I taught 30+years and I deserve to retire. We had years that were rough but we bit the bullet and continued to teach. I must say that teaching is harder than it's ever been but we had options and we were able to take it. I wished I could've hung in there like the 35-40 years teachers but I just couldn't do it anymore.
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Thanks!!!
Old 08-02-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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I appreciate all the testimonials and marvel at how each story reflects the unique situation of that particular teacher. I have been at my school more than 20 years so you have given me much to ponder as I look ahead. What a creative idea to use the branded M & M's to make the announcement to retire! The generosity of the special people on this site is touching--I am so grateful I discovered this site and can't wait to be a permanent part of this exclusive group.
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