Does it happen to everyone in education that they lose touch at some point, like an athlete that doesn’t know when to hang it up, and they hold on for too long… to the detriment of those they have been hired to serve?
Thing about this issue though is that age, oftentimes, has very little to do with the matter of when someone should hang up their educational spurs. Truly, some people ought to take their chips off the table after but 3 months in this profession — and for a few, that’s 90 days too long in this field! Others need to stick around for another 2 decades even if they have already put in 35 years of service. (Let me tell ya, Boca Raton, Florida retirement with dinner served at 4:30 p.m. can wait.)
For a boxer, as the years roll on you lose hand speed. And you get punched in the head too many times and it becomes clear to even the most casual fans when a once-ferocious fighter simply needs to stay out of the ring.
Football players, baseball players, NBA superstars… Father Time and Mother Nature conspire to do ’em in. As ticket buyers we see it and we let ’em know.
But in schools, it’s not really the same. Like I said, some of the best folks we have in education are people who have been in this field for 30 years or more.
(If only they could NEVER retire.)
However, as I also said, some of people should have hung up their educational spurs when Nixon was president.
All in all, the big point is that time and age don’t necessarily translate to “excellence” in our profession. As too many of us well know, some of the best folks we have in our field have been in their jobs for less than 5 years.
And they are the ones who are first to get chopped when the budget cuts roll in.
Ouch! We butcher our most promising seedlings.
Yet, some folks in our field (no names — or organizations — mentioned) quite wrongly equate “years in the classroom” to “quality of work being done in the classroom” — as false premise as ever there was.
Age before beauty… it’s not right! And when common sense returns to public education — or finally rears its head, as some may argue — the idea that quantity of time in a class trumps quality of time in a class will be expeditiously bounced.