Retirement

It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t anticipated. It wasn’t welcomed.

I was working in 2015 for one of the two best principals I ever had when the school was shook up by my principal being transferred out and another principal being transferred in to her place.

At the time I was teaching Reading Intervention and I enjoyed it immensely!

I worked with struggling readers in Kindergarten and First Grade. I viewed each as potentially successful readers before I even began my instruction. I tailor made lessons with each child’s needs in mind.

I love puzzles and children who have problems learning to read usually have just missed one or two key concepts, and if I can figure out what it is, I have them reading on grade level within nine weeks.

My principal, who was transferred elsewhere, understood my methods, and I was free to work with the children using research based methods that were both from today and from years past.

The new principal came in and took an instant dislike to me. I understand she’s in her forties and doesn’t like “older” people. Everyone she hired was fresh out of college and eager to follow her lead.

She was eager to get rid of me.

I was working with 35 children a day in ten different groups. I walked up and down the hall collecting my groups all day long. I was happy. I was successful. I got results. As I’d bring a child up to grade level, I’d meet with the classroom teacher and we’d decide to leave that child in the classroom and replace his or her intervention lessons with another child who was below grade level in reading. I worked in a school with many needy children.

The new principal sent me an email her second day there and told me to “get with the kindergarten teachers and add 13 more children to my roster of students”. That meant I’d meet with 48 children a day. I could not make any more groups because my day was filled with ten groups. The size of the group does affect outcomes and for 5, 6, and 7 year olds, it’s best to have groups of 3 or 4 at the most.

I emailed her back and told her that was a very heavy workload. I suggested she look at my record on the children I had served. I told her the old principal had me bring children up to grade level and then switch them out for a child who needed help. It was only the beginning of March and I had time to get all the K/1 children up to grade level. Would she please reconsider the increase in my workload?

She emailed me back that she would discuss my workload when I discussed my absences with her. ???? Did she mean when I was out the December before having test after test for what the doctor feared was either blood clots in my lungs or lung cancer? Did she want to discuss that with me on her second day at the helm? I emailed her back and told her I had been out a lot the previous December, but I had discussed that with the previous principal and I was fine now. (It had turned out to be a very stubborn lung infection.)

I contacted my Reading Intervention supervisor who had been upset when I had four children in most groups and I told her about the sudden increase in workload. She said there was nothing she could do about it.

I kept coming to work and trying, trying, trying to see every child assigned to me. My health began to deteriorate and by the end of April, I had to go out on disability leave.

I’d been contemplating retirement in June, but really had hoped to work one more year. I needed five more months to qualfiy for the retirement program. I never made it.

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