Senior knowledge.

I’m not sure how many teachers are retiring with me in June.

It’s the third year of our three-year collective bargaining agreement. There are some bargained perks for those who choose to retire during the life of this contract. It’s a good deal for the board since those of us higher up on the salary schedule will be replaced with new lower-paid teachers.

Since nobody knows if those retirement perks will be in the next CBA, a higher than usual number of teachers are expected to join me as members of IEA-Retired.

What it saves the district in money, it will cost the district in knowledge and experience. Hundreds of years of experience.

When I called this senior knowledge the person I was talking to didn’t like that term. Some people my age get really touchy about words describing what we are. Senior? Veteran? Older? Aged? Really, you can’t win with any of them.

I don’t care much about the word senior. I don’t mind the senior discounts that have saved me two bucks at the neighborhood movie for the past couple of years. And this summer when we visited Yellowstone and the Tetons I got a senior pass for all the national parks. Ten bucks gets me and everyone else in the car in for free.

I like the term, senior knowledge.

But my school district doesn’t even recognize the concept.

Every couple of years we go through a process they call strategic planning. This current strategic planning process will take five years. Five years!

Kids go from first grade to middle school in that amount of time. Has anybody in administration noticed that we live in a time of quick change (except for that war in Afghanistan. That thing just drags on and on.)?

One of our strategic planning committees is about teacher technology use.

One of the suits must see the irony of a five-year teacher technology use plan.

Tuesday was an all-day professional development day for strategic planning. And those of us with senior knowledge, which we are planning to take with us when we retire in June, were expected to take part in rewriting learning objectives for the fifth time in my teaching career.

This is year two or three of the strategic planning process.

I forget.

That’s a problem for some of those with senior knowledge.

The idea that those of us who are retiring might be asked to share our senior knowledge apparently never occurred to any suits.

We were given no special role. There was no acknowledgement of the unique value of what we knew.

There was just the expectation that we would sit and redo what we had done five times before.

I stayed home sick. That’s a plan that comes to those with senior knowledge.

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