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Teacher Out: Last Day of My 25th Year!

Today was the last day of school for the kids! Which means…IT WAS THE LAST TEACHING DAY FOR ME! I have one more contracted day (Monday) to attend. But…today it was “TEACHER OUT!” This was the last student day of my 25th year in my district. (Wow!! Twenty-five years in the same school district!) This moment came quickly through a lot of hard work, constant stress, and subtle/overt prejudice (from a principal, some colleagues, and some parents). But I made it, and now I get to determine when I will leave to enjoy my pension and retirement career.

Bitmoji showing Black woman leaving work really fast and supplies in the air. Teacher out!

Teacher Prepping

I entered teaching as a second career when I was 25 years old. I knew then my teaching career would last 25 to 30 years. Now that my 25th year is here, it’s time to plan my retirement life. It sounds odd to talk about retirement when I’m just turning 50. However, teaching and working in the United States has changed since my grandfather and mom retired. 

The average teacher today faces more requirements packed into the same 6 hour school day. We have more special-needs students who require specialized knowledge. Then there is our current government and Republican governors who have an issue with teachers and education. That means for anyone who has 20+ years, you should start prepping for the retirement phase of your life. 

Teacher Retirement Research

I attended a Retirement Fair in our district last year. It was the best decision. I wasn’t ready to retire at that moment. However, the information our Business Administrator provided helped me to plan my exit. Now I know that based on how long my third career training takes, I can retire within 1 to 3-ish years. I will be able to supplement my pension (the money I’ve paid since my first day of teaching) with earnings from my new career. When you know that information, going to work each day can be a little less stressful.

So, if you’re a teacher in your 20th year, don’t wait until the year you decide to retire. You’ve spent your whole career researching best practices in teaching and evaluating your students. You should be researching the best practice for your retirement lifestyle. I’m retraining to work (hopefully) in Front-End Web Development. (Translation: I want to design Web Pages.) I’ve been working through tutorials on FreeCodeCamp.com. Don’t wait! Explore your retirement options before your last year. Make your “teacher-career” lead into another exciting adventure. 

 

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End of the Year Rainbow Dot Awards

Author TLanette Pollard as a Power Puff Girl

Editable Classroom Awards (Rainbow Dot Background)

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Why You Should Use Themed Summer Reading Lists

Penguin holding books.

Picture a warm summer day. The sun is shining brightly as the clouds drift across the ocean blue sky. A warm gentle breeze is threading itself through the trees and the screens of your back porch. You found the most comfortable chair, the one with the really soft squishy pillows. Usually, your brother grabs it first, but today it is all yours. As you lean back, you smell the fresh new white pages as the following words dance in front of your eyes: 

Continue reading Why You Should Use Themed Summer Reading Lists

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ReBlog: NonStereotypical Characters & Diversity in Children’s Books

Kids of different ethnicities in circle smiling. True diversity

Two Black young boys eating outside while playing. True diversity. We’ve been talking about diversity in children’s books for the last 20+ years. Yet, we haven’t moved past the “talking stage.” When I began working towards my teacher certification at Kean University Graduate School, “multiculturalism” was the big topic and buzz-word.

I can remember lists of multicultural picture books and novels handed out during class. Once I became a teacher, I made sure I had many of these books in my classroom. It was important to me to show different cultures in my classroom. My school district is predominantly White, so it’s very rare to see diversity in our schools. Which is why it’s important to see that representation in our literature.

However, as the years have passed, there has been less discussion about multiculturalism and diversity. There were very few articles about new authors of color or books with diverse characters. In fact, even the lists of books disappeared. Now we were talking about “good children’s literature” and “quality mentor texts.” 

 

Why have educators stopped talking about finding good children’s literature with diversity and non-stereotypical characters? T. Lanette Pollard, NBCT

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Why It’s Taken 24 Years For Me to Relax on a Sunday

Author TLanette Pollard as a Power Puff Girl

I have finally found the balance between life and work on Sundays. It’s taken me 24 years to finally use my Sunday for “Me Time.” That’s right! I took the entire day to focus on non-school related activities and relax at home.
Bitmoji Black Woman with locs propped against pillows holding a book with her cat. The words "Me Time" appear above her head.

It’s taken 24 years of teaching for me to use my Sundays properly. Since I started teaching in 1993, my Sunday afternoons and evenings were spent correcting papers and writing lesson plans. I’ve worked as a Basic Skills Teacher for the last five years. You would think I’d have less paperwork. Not even close! I actually have more paperwork (assessments) and lesson plans for multiple students and classes. In spite of that, I was very thrilled about today. 

I sat at my computer for three hours learning about flexbox and HTML5. The sounds from the Chelsea FC/Liverpool FC match were playing in the background. So, why did it take me so long to enjoy my Sundays?  Continue reading Why It’s Taken 24 Years For Me to Relax on a Sunday