Yes, it's true. I've been receiving tons of congratulations from my colleagues lately on my coming retirement. Which is normal, I suppose, except for one thing.
I'm not retiring. I'm not old enough and I don't
have enough years in.
So you may be wondering why people have been congratulating me. I'll give you a hint--it all started when I returned to school Monday.
Yep. I've been getting pats on the back all week because of the new evaluation system, because while I am not retiring, I will be eligible to retire well before the end of the 2015 school year, which is when the new system will start lopping the heads off any teachers rated ineffective two years in a row. So even if they hoist me into the tumbril and cart me off the the guillotine, I can narrowly escape and head off into the sunset at Boca Raton.
To be clear, I have no intention of retiring for quite a few years, because I love teaching and I still think my best work is yet to come. And besides, where would I get material for this blog?
My point is that it just goes to show you the extent to which people are afraid of this new evaluation system, and I think justifiably so. The fact that people are congratulating me on retirement years in advance shows me how much those people believe they will not make it, as I have.
They may well be right. A teacher with 10 years in will have to go at least another 17 without getting two consecutive ineffective ratings. If you're brand new, you'll have to survive a full 27 years of junk science VAM evaluations, and you'll have to survive a number of principals (I have survived six, so far) and admins who may not think you're the cat's pajamas (jeez, I am old).
Unless things change, you can expect that this evaluation plan will mean that before long, no one will reach retirement (and after all, isn't that what Bloomberg wants, anyway?). Once geezers like me are gone, we'll have to think of new things to celebrate, such as one consecutive year without an ineffective rating. Teacher who get vested should receive a gold watch.
A lot of the folks who congratulated me also told me that they are working on their resumes, or looking for other careers. That, of course, is the other thing Bloomberg wanted--a transient, temporary work force that will be young enough not to need many benefits and too inexperienced to climb up the pay scale.
Me, I'm just basking in the glow of all the congratulations. I may go out this weekend to buy a straw hat, some Bermuda shorts, and some sandals to go with my knee length black socks as I contemplate getting out of this system and heading to Florida. I hope to see you there one day. But I'm not banking on it. It'll probably be just me and Mulgrew.