Rethinking Learning
conversations about the future of teaching and learning
Barbara Bray
be creative, innovate, take risks, unlearn to learn
Oakland, CA

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Filling the Gap
By Barbara Bray    February 24, 2008 -- 09:30 AM

Iím a baby boomer. Turning 60 this year. I used to think this was old. Now I feel like itís a new stone to turn over. Problems with getting older is mostly physical. Most of my fellow boomers are ed techies who love this stuff. They blog, comment, connect, and share maybe even more than the next generation.

Like a lot of my friends I started in the 80s buying the first desktop computers. Think I had the first laptop (weighed 20 pounds) and first Apple (cost me $4,200 then). I was so with it. Loved it. Still hooked. With the new social networking tools, Iím just like my kids on Facebook - connect on LinkedIn to people I havenít seen in a long time. Itís not really to count the number of friends like kids do, itís the connections - learning from each other.

Well - a lot of my friends are retiring and trying to figure out where theyíre going to travel, who theyíre going to play golf with, and some just reading, watching TV. It is their lives and they can do what they want, right?

I have a little problem with this. What a waste! I was reading USA Today on Friday about tapping boomersí skills. Who knows
  • if you retire now will you have enough later?
  • how long you will live?
  • if you put enough money aside to cover emergencies?
Can you afford to retire at 60 or 62? Check this article.

So if you retire and maybe spend a few years chasing a golf ball around the courses, is that enough for you? Are you aware that there will be an historic teacher shortage? We will need more than 2 million new teachers in the next decade, the turnover rate is highest ever (20% of all new teachers leave the profession within 3 years), new teachers are overwhelmed - actually all teachers are overwhelmed. [Source: NEA Teacher Shortage]

And now there are baby boomer teachers retiring that shows there will be a major teacher shortage by 2015. [Source: NY Times]

Boomers could fill the gap. What was your profession before you retired? You probably have so many skills you can share - mentor - volunteer. Classroom sizes are going to go up so teachers could use your help.

Maybe you were a scientist, researcher, or worked in a laboratory. Are you aware that in California alone, there will be a need for up to 33,000 new math and science teachers?

California created a new EnCorps, a private-public program aimed at luring retirees into teaching math, science or other subjects. Sign up and you can receive up to $15,000 to prepare you to teach. [Source: Oakland Tribune] Other states are following suit.

We can all make a difference and give back. Our children need you. Even if you offer time for after-school programs or mentor a child. Consider that not only will you change the life of at least one child, your life will be richer.

Categories: "Life-long Learning" "Children" "Change" "Teachers" "Future" "Boomers"

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