Losing some of the best – retiring teachers as a wasted resource


There’s been a bit about this in the news recently, however I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Nicky Morgan has muted people coming back into teaching once retired.The typical Twitter response I’ve seen is ‘Don’t be ridiculous. When I retire I don’t want anything to do with teaching’. However, having sat through a leaving ‘do’ at the end of the academic year a couple of weeks ago I think we’re missing something.

There are some really excellent, experienced, inspiring teachers leaving teaching. The day they leave all their knowledge, years of classroom experience goes; an overnight resource loss. Some of them however are not of the opinion above. They don’t really WANT to stop teaching. They love the kids. They love their subject. They love their job. They are years of ‘research’ without any written papers. I know for some people that’s hard to believe but they will really miss school. These are the people we need in education. 

So why are they going? Even in an amazing school like mine it’s not just about being in the classroom with the kids. Teaching is so much more. It’s tiring. It’s draining. And for some, learning more new systems, pedagogies, administrative tasks is just too much. 

So what can we do? We need to think how we can use this huge wealth of experience and knowledge to out students’ advantage. A teacher who the kids love, remember for ever, inspires and has helped students achieve excellent results should not just be left to walk out of the door.

Let’s start thinking of practical, manageable and effective ways of utilising these invaluable resources. These amazing teachers who have inspired for years should be able to continue to inspire without continuing to be full time teachers.

Any ideas?


5 thoughts on “Losing some of the best – retiring teachers as a wasted resource

  1. Pingback: OTR Links 08/02/2015 | doug — off the record

  2. I am a teaching “retiree”. I did not want or expect to be, it was all a bit too early but I was in an environment that I found toxic to my physical and mental health. Needless to say I wanted nothing to do with education. This lasted for about 2 years until I was coaxed into and able to reflect on my time as a teacher. I realised I still had a lot to offer and many ideas to suggest -but how? My passion was reignited but I did not want to return to teaching and certainly not under the conditions that I found toxic to my way of thinking and working.

    I have setup a company to formalise my ideas, it is called “Advocating Creativity (in education) and abbreviated to “ace-d”. Ace-d is all about finding creative ways of overcoming the challenges faced by leadership, management, teachers and learners as well as parents (see article:http://wp.me/p2LphS-kk ). I think you could characterise my approach as “thinking outside the box”.

    That was 3 1/2 years ago and I am still at it, still as passionate and still determined to make a difference. The question remains though – how? I have written, published, talked, blogged, tweeted, attended conferences and attempted to make contact with old colleagues. There is a lot of “support” for my ideas and materials but no open arms or welcoming gestures. I found it hard to make changes whilst in a leadership team, I am finding it impossible to support those in education now I am no longer teaching. Doing more of the same, more of what is not working, appears to be safer than considering or exploring a different approach.

    Sorry if this sounds like a hard luck story. It is not, just one from somebody who is passionate about teaching and learning and has a lot to offer. Somebody who like the article suggests and who believes themselves to be an “invaluable resource”. maybe I am not, find out for yourself by checking out some of my work here: http://www.4c3d.wordpress.com

    Please get in touch if you want to find out more about my ideas and work and how I can help make a significant difference to your school, teachers and learners. The key to this is a concept I have developed called “Learning Intelligence”, more at: (https://magic.piktochart.com/output/2297869-learning-intelligence)

    You may also like an article sharing the wisdom of my mentor when I started teaching in the form of John’s 12 Rules here: http://wp.me/p2LphS-3W


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