I’m in my 27th year as a teacher, and for the past 13 years I’ve taught 2nd grade in Choteau, Montana. I’m a former local Association president, and am currently on the state Association board of directors.
How are you planning for retirement?
NEA-Retired has opened my eyes to many benefits available after retirement. I think teachers can be too slow to plan for retirement because we get immersed in the lives of our kids. I’m not only using NEA-Retired as a resource for myself, but I want to be involved in the great work it does in Montana.
We need better funding for schools. Because of tight budgets, my fellow teachers and I will often pay for classroom supplies out-of-pocket if we see a good sale. Testing laws are also getting out of hand. Even my second graders are loaded down with tests—too many for kids in their developmental years. NEA-Retired works hard on these issues, and I want to help by staying active once I leave the classroom.
I taught grade 6-8 science and math for 34 years, first in Pennsylvania , then, for most of my career, in Maryland. I’m currently a board member of my local Retired Association.
What NEA-Retired activities interest you the most?
Mentoring new teachers. I just completed training for the Intergenerational Mentoring Program, and soon I’ll start working with a senior-year education major. I’m also getting word out to other Retired members about the values of mentoring. We really need to give an extra hand to young teachers, because too many get overwhelmed and leave the field. In my county, 16 newly hired teachers left within the first month of this school year. Hopefully we can give them enough preparation and support that they won’t just get a quick taste of the classroom and say, “Okay, I’ve had enough!”
I taught high school English, composition, and literature for 33 years in Grand Island, Nebraska. I served as president and secretary of my local Association, and am now secretary of my local Retired Association.
How are you spending retirement?
Staying healthy, first of all. My husband and I are part of a program that organizes 10K walks, and in the past 12 years, we’ve walked 10Ks in all 50 states, 50 state capitals, and the District of Columbia. We’ve also walked in six Canadian provinces. That’s a big part of our lives. I also stay busy with NEA-Retired.
I’ve worked on building our new local Retired Association, and I volunteer to help gifted students at the high school. One student was working on a novel, so I provided some guidance and editing, which was a great experience. I’m also part of the Intergenerational Mentorship Program, and recently worked as a mentor with my first college student.