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Hit the Road Jack: Talking About Retirement

By Joy Jameson
Hit the Road Jack: Talking About Retirement

At this time of year, with contract renewals coming up, having to tell an employee that it’s time to retire is perhaps one of an administrator’s most difficult and dreaded tasks. It can become an extremely emotional conversation, too, since the employee may not be ready to retire or fears retirement, thinking of it as a big leap into the unknown.
Therefore, administrators often try to dodge this dreaded task by using various psychological strategies to hopefully drop the hint to the employee that he/she is no longer considered a vital part of the school staff, rather than engaging in a direct conversation with the person.
Every administrator has his/her own way of tightening the screws to force an employee to quit. For example, at one international school, the person in charge of testing students for admission was baffled by a sudden drop in the number of students applying. Weeks had gone by and not a single application arrived on her desk. After investigating further, she discovered that the administrators, having decided she was no longer needed at the school, had been sending all prospective students to a different person for testing without even saying a word to her regarding the school’s desire for her to retire. In the case of teachers, principals often cut teaching schedules, drastically reduce student caseloads, or take actions to make the teacher feel like he/she is an invisible staff member—i.e., avoiding contact with the teacher; never including the person in school meetings nor validating their work or opinions; assigning the person demeaning jobs; etc.
In some cultures, when a boss wants someone to leave, instead of having a talk with the person, he invites a group of people from the office to dinner. A fish platter is served. If, over the course of the meal, the boss turns the platter to point the fish head at you, that means the company no longer needs you. Therefore, without saying a single word, the boss tells you to hit the road.
Watching from the sidelines as longtime and highly respected employees wilt on the vine or go into a physical and/or nervous breakdown state as a result of this sort of psychological abuse is heartbreaking for the staff members’ colleagues. It causes anxiety among the staff because they are mystified or disheartened by the administrator’s cowardice and level of cruelty.
Wouldn’t it be better to show that you are a strong and empathetic administrator by simply talking with the employee in a straightforward and professional manner? For sure it will be an awkward and perhaps difficult conversation, but in the end it will be a lot less painful for the employee than the aforementioned psychological torture techniques used at some schools.
As that age-old adage states: “What goes around comes around.” When your retirement time comes, what kind of treatment will you want to receive?

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02/17/2016 - Jackie
A very interesting article on forced retirement.
1. The experienced/seasoned teacher often feel he/she is intimidating to the younger inexperienced ones. High school and college classes were dumb downed for many of the younger generation. Too many on line classes and degrees offered and I have encountered many young one who have had their work done for them by others.
2. The experienced/seasoned teacher has had an intensive well rounded education…you know, learning a little of many topics. Education today is dictated by our governments, yes, mandates from our governments on what they want to student to learn.
3. It is absolutely ridiculous for countries to have age restrictions for teachers. Kings, Queens, Heads of State, Prime Ministers, and many other politicians are well beyond the age of what they limit their teacher's age to be.
So for all you inexperienced politicians, and administrators out there…what do you really want your students to learn and what are you giving them and showing them so they may be socially and academically successful for their personal and professional interests and dreams and contributing members of the community.



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