Teachers must possess enthusiasm for the job

The juxtaposition of Lisa Earle McLeod’s article against the “practice retirement” My View was very interesting and thought-provoking. McLeod makes a clear plea to teachers to come to work excited, eager and ready to build enthusiasm in learners. She points out how very influential teachers can be in students’ lives.

McLeod reminded me of the years I spent working in education and how important it was to be prepared and happy to be amongst young learners. As a school counselor, I sadly often learned when teachers were not excited and happy to be there via student complaints and acting-out behaviors. Kids know when adults are genuinely interested in them, and when they are just “putting in their time.” As an administrator, I used to ask teachers to treat their students the way in which they wanted their own children to be treated.

I do not know the My View writer and he may well be a fabulous teacher. Unfortunately, I did not hear even one small drop of enthusiasm in his preparation to go back to school this fall. His article seemed to be entirely concerned with himself and his inability to retire. Many baby boomers are experiencing this; they are uncertain and afraid of what retirement will bring. They have built an identity around work and do not know how to leave it. They know their work family better than they know the one at home. There are plenty of ways to make retirement a great time. Like everything else in life, it depends on the individual and the enthusiasm, energy and thought he/she brings to the task. While money issues will be problematic for some, many simply are fearful of the unknown.

As this school year begins, all teachers should ask themselves if they are ready to be enthused and good motivators (sometimes hard with all the changes and public criticism they endure). If they are retirement eligible and the answer is no, it is time to really retire, not just practice, and start a new chapter in their lives.

Susan Nablo