Episode 10: Maybe, you should Keep Teaching...Starring Michael Brilla

The Problem:

Some educators fail to inventory everything they like about teaching before they retire. 

In my last episode, I interviewed Penny Sturtevant, an educator who’s on the verge of retirement. In this episode I’ll interview Michael Brilla, a middle school Social Studies teacher from Eastern Pennsylvania. Michael is in his early 40s and is mid-way through his career. At first blush he would not seem like a relevant guest for a podcast geared toward older and retired educators. But I solicited Michael because he experienced a mini retirement and now he’s back in the classroom. 

From 2019 to 2021, Michael was a technology coach in his district. He had the option to stay in that role or return to the classroom. He obviously chose the latter and this episode is why he opted to return, everything he missed in exile, and what his triumphant renaissance has been like. This is an important episode for two segments of my audience:

  1. teachers who are debating whether or not they’re ready to retire
  2. retired educators who are missing the students and the experience

Even if you’re not in one of these two camps, I’ll bet you know someone who fits one of those descriptions. Share this episode with them. If you’re a retired educator and are missing teaching, please make certain to listen to the What you can do About it section at the end of the episode. I toss out some ideas. 

What you can do About it:

This will be an usual offering in this section because I really had to create two lists based on audience needs. 

If you’re an educator trying to figure out whether it’s time to retire, you’ve probably done a lot of evaluation. But, how much have you interviewed others who know you? Make certain to interrogate family, friends, colleagues, administrators, and even trusted students. Ask them what they think of you retiring and then be prepared to listen. You may learn interesting things about yourself. 

And if you fall into the category of a retired educator who misses teaching, consider ways that you teach again but with far less demand. Consider these options:

  • Assistant coaching
  • Volunteering 
  • Teach a hobby 
  • Learn a skill and then teach it to others
  • Become an adjunct instructor
  • Start a book club

Don’t be in a rush to retire if you’re not ready. And if you are retired, there’s no reason you can’t still teach. Investigate a new venue. I did and I love it.