Teaching During Retirement Years

To find meaning in retirement, consider becoming a teacher. This change need not necessarily involve training young people to take exams in a traditional context. The activity can take place in a classroom one-on-one. From kindergarten to high school to college level, from leisure activities and hobbies to sports, all offer opportunities to enrich others’ lives.

Excitement of the teaching bug

Retirement-age teachers with long experience may find they miss the routines and camaraderie of the profession. After their final semester, many report that September still feels like the beginning of the year. They look back on favorite aspects of the job, such as creating new units of study or introducing students to new authors. The bonds and connections they have formed with fellow teachers are a powerful memory. Some might even miss the buzzing of those classroom bells!

Those who choose to teach as a new retirement career face a set of novel challenges. What motivates them to relinquish some of the more standard rewards of relaxing years? They may find it a struggle to master classroom dynamics, especially if they are dealing with students of diverse backgrounds. The pay may seem meager, too, particularly to those who have reached high levels in their respective fields.

It takes patience and determination to complete the required qualifications in some cases. Notwithstanding the obstacles, older teachers commit the effort for the sake of mentoring and interacting.

Preparation and certifications

There are several potential paths, both standard and alternative, to certification. The teacher shortage has opened doors. A master’s degree in any area generally allows you to teach in a private school immediately. A bachelor’s alone would require a state education certification for instructing in a public institution. It takes about a year and provides important training in skills like classroom management. Note that rules may vary widely from one school district to another, so be sure to check before committing to a specific place.

If you take the alternative route, state-approved programs permit licensing in K-12. Many states have reciprocity agreements, and you can enroll in an online program. As an example, a core curriculum might take about six months to complete, at 15 hours a week, along with a 450-hour clinical practical placement. Some of these courses are flexible, so you can pace them yourself. You will then undertake a mandatory field placement for a hands-on feel for the classroom experience. Finally, you can apply for a license at the Department of Education. It costs about $50 to $200 and must be renewed every couple of years. Then you are ready to look for a job.

College-level teaching is more lucrative, but you will need a master’s degree and possibly a doctorate. Many wannabe professors take classes during their high school teaching years to earn the needed credits.

Many roads to the classroom

Be open to other instructional roles that may fit better with a retirement lifestyle.

Substitute teachers are much less regulated; each district has its own requirements. You may also be able to volunteer in various capacities. Even seniors gain practice through coaching and monitoring.

Tutoring one-on-one is less stressful than teaching in classrooms. Tutors need not accommodate lesson plans to state and federal requirements or manage so much paperwork. Tutors work in centers or at clients’ homes. Private and public schools often pass referrals to parents, and tutors may construct their own websites. Tutors at local nonprofits also teach adult students reading or writing skills or how to obtain high school level GEDs.

Have you considered:

  • Community colleges and technical schools.
  • School administration — principals, athletic directors and guidance counselors.
  • Personal training — at health clubs, senior living facilities, client homes.
  • International schools — for the adventurous, operated through embassies and the Department of Defense. Instruction is in English, following U.S. or British curriculums.
  • YouTube — the ultimate freedom to impart what you like.

Check out teach.com for information on teaching salaries and other details.

Reach out to Roz Carothers and her team at Triplett & Carothers to learn more.