Second career in teaching

by Robin Shaffer, RDHAP

Dear MenTeach,

I have just visited your website and I totally support your idea to recruit more men into teaching. I work in public health in elementary schools and see kindergarden teachers in action. It was strange to see at first but the male teachers I've seen have a different teaching style. They seem to have a calm style and a well-behaved classroom. They are supportive of the children without being overly nurturant. The children seem to respect the teacher and he treats them with respect and in a more straight-foreward manner.

On a different note, my husband has become a teacher as a second career. He is a microbiologist by training and has a Master's Degree in Biology. After working in the corporate world for 25 years, he found himself doing less and less science and more and more paperwork. He decided at age 50 to get his teaching credential and is now teaching high school biology. In California, where we live, there are a shortage of Math, Science and Special Education teachers so we recruit them from around the nation and beyond.

My husband was hired on an "emergency credential" the first year as he hadn't done any student teaching yet. He did a great job, worked into the nights getting lessons made and was some student's favorite teacher. He was re-hired this year with his preliminary credential and a $4,000.00 raise!

My concern is this. If we have such a shortage of male teachers and especially math and science teachers, why after being lured into teaching, would they have to make a choice between their teacher pensions and Social Security when they retire?

After working for 25 years and fully funding their Social Security, why make them choose? They should be entitled to BOTH! Servicemen and women don't have to choose. Isn't teaching as noble a profession as military service? There are a lot of comparisons between the two professions!

Is there anything being done to remedy this inequity? Do all professionals who, later in life become teachers, have to give up their Social Security? It is bad enough that teachers' salaries are as low as they are. There should be some added incentive to recruit teachers into the field instead of punishing them when they reitre.

Don't you agree? Please let me know if there are any movements to reverse this policy. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Good luck in your efforts with MenTeach.


Robin Shaffer, RDHAP