SHOUT - about what makes you Happy, Sad or Mad

Retired teachers are lost treasures

Colin Padgett

I bumped into an old friend the other day. He is the retired headteacher of a local primary school and was carrying a shopping bag full of interesting bits and pieces relating to a hobby of his - writing styles and implements.

I asked him what it was all for and he said his old school had invited him to teach the children about calligraphy and pens.

We chatted and reminisced but, after we had parted, it occurred to me that I had just experienced an unusual thing - an ex-teacher not just willing to go back into school, but invited to do so. How very rare.

In fact, although some readers will say, "We get past staff members back in," I'm willing to bet it's a small minority.

Most teachers leave schools where they may have worked for 30 or more years and never cross the threshold again.

It says two things to me. First, it makes me wonder how well our schools know their staff. When I was a boy at grammar school, things were pretty formal, but we knew which members of staff played musical instruments, who wrote books, who were stalwarts of local organisations and so on. Even in those days, few came back after retirement - probably because they all worked until they were at least 65 and were understandably ready for a rest - but it was known what they could offer if required. These days, I doubt that many managers or governors know as much.

Secondly, what a waste. Teachers tend to be among that part of society that pursues hobbies and voluntary interests no matter how exhausted they may be by the day job. Just think what they could put back informally into schools after retiring.

If you add the fact that a high proportion of those recently or currently leaving the profession have academic degrees, and therefore a lot of knowledge, how much richer might our schools be for their presence?"

Colin Padgett is a tutor and examiner in Essex.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Colin Padgett

Latest stories

What's it like teaching in Italy?

What’s it like teaching in Italy?

It’s no surprise that Italy attracts teachers from all over the planet, but what’s it like living and working there?
Carly Page 22 Sep 2020
Government encourages colleges to use Covid-19 app

Coronavirus and schools: LIVE 22/9

A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the ongoing pandemic will have on their working lives
Tes Reporter 22 Sep 2020