Jump Back in, the Water Is Fine!
By Kerry Knapp, National School Recruiter
The current Special Education teacher shortage has led to an increasing number of classroom vacancies in America’s public, charter, and private schools. Since there aren’t enough graduating Special Education teachers to fill all of the open positions, school districts are pushed to find creative strategies to solve this problem. One promising solution is the return of retirees. Epic Special Education Staffing provides a unique avenue for retirees to return to work and continue to make a difference in the lives of our students.
As a National School Recruiter for Epic Special Education Staffing, I have the privilege of working with all kinds of Special Education teachers. Some are just starting their careers, while others are returning to the profession after a few years of retirement.
As a recent “empty nester” myself, I see that retirement is fast approaching and it’s important to know how to stay busy, sharp, and on top of my profession while enjoying some of the best years of life. And so, I make a point of connecting with retired teachers to better understand how we can pave the way for them to return to the classroom.
Why Special Education Teachers Are Coming Out of Retirement
Retired Special Education teachers bring years of experience back into the classroom – benefitting not just the students they support but providing mentorship to a whole new generation of Special Education teachers. And the best part is they get to continue to practice in the profession they love. Some of the Retirees who are “un-retiring” have decided to share their experiences and the reasons they’ve decided to jump back into the waters.
- Teaching is often called a “work of heart” and many who choose this profession want to remain connected in some way to the classroom and the students.
- Continuing to work provides a social outlet and sense of community as well as a routine.
- With so many openings, retirees can ask for modified, part-time, and sometimes hybrid schedules that will fit their current lifestyles.
- Nationwide, Epic Special Education Staffing is working with retired teachers who are returning for roles with districts allowing a retiree to work indirectly for a school and not compete with retirement benefits* they are already receiving.
- Retirees can continue to save plus take advantage of “catch up” contributions offered at age 50 on 401K plans. Staffing firms such as Epic Special Education Staffing provide access to 401K’s and matching.
- By having access to group medical plans through an agency, the need to claim social security benefits is delayed.
- CEU Reimbursement benefits offered through staffing firms such as Epic Special Education Staffing can also help keep our minds active and sharp by encouraging continued education.
- Travel contracts are not just for nurses anymore! Special Education teachers can also take advantage of travel contracts to be able to experience a new city or state. There’s also the chance to check out a potential long-term retirement location while being paid stipends and receiving license reimbursements.
How Retired Special Education Teachers Can Return to the Classroom
So, what’s next? Ready to pack your lunch and head back into the classroom? Here are a few steps to help you plan for your “re-entry” to the classroom:
- Refer to the Department of Education in your state to be aware of any guidelines or restrictions related to returning to work.
- Verify that your teaching licensures or certifications are up to date and in good standing.
- If you are interested in moving to another state, research the licensure requirements outside of reciprocity.
- Be sure to consult a tax professional or plan administrator to better understand the effects on your Medicare and Social Security benefits.
- Be sure to interview and select a staffing firm that understands your unique needs and interests and will provide the benefits and relationship you deserve.
Encouraging retired Special Education teachers to return to the classroom is an excellent way to address the current teacher shortage in the country. Not only does it help the students and the new generation of teachers, but it also provides lots of benefits for retirees. It just goes to show that life doesn’t end after retirement. There are still so many amazing opportunities for retirees if you know where to look.
Jump back into the waters with the help of Epic Special Education Staffing. Our recruiters can help you find a fulfilling career post-retirement that gives you the best of both worlds. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your options.
*Retirement benefits are subject to varying laws and regulations based on your location and individual circumstances. When considering part-time work, it is essential to understand the potential impact of additional income on any pensions, Social Security, healthcare plans, and other benefits that you may have. Please seek professional guidance for more information.
About the Author
Kerry Knapp is a National School Recruiter for Epic Special Education Staffing with over 20 years of experience working in education and recruiting. Kerry’s approach is highly consultative, focusing on a deep understanding of professional and personal goals to target the best placement options. She encourages her therapists and teachers to “dream big” and realize that anything is possible when looking for a new state, city, or school.
In her spare time, Kerry “dreams big” herself by spending time planning travel with her husband and two daughters and is a lover of anything French. Her attitude can be summed up in the words of Walt Disney: “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”