Wednesday, March 14, 2012

100 Years Old and Still Teaching: A Horror Story

            I’m sorry, but I find the news story about Olivia Neubauer more horrifying than uplifting. This poor woman, who turned 100 years old on March 11th, is still gainfully employed as a teacher.  Every school day since 1935, Ms. Neubauer has gotten up and headed off to school, where she has taught students ranging in age from preschool to high school. Her current job at Ashburn Lutheran School in Chicago is teaching reading to kindergartners.

            I love teaching, but I know I’d like to retire well before I reach 100. I want to travel, get my doctorate, learn how to ballroom dance, and have time to read. I don’t want to still be grading English papers when I’m in my 90’s. In my considered opinion, students aren’t going to be able to identify comma splices and misplaced modifiers any better in the next 50 years than they can today. Being forced to grade English essays for 65 years straight must be one of Dante’s lesser-known levels of hell, don’t you think?

            I admire Ms. Neubauer greatly. She must be an awesome lady, and I would like to meet her. I bet she has some fascinating stories to tell. However, I don’t intend to follow in her venerable footsteps. Retirement sounds good to me.