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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The New School Year

If you just started following my blog, I'm at the point where I'm a few years from retirement and I'm  looking at the possibilities.  Is retirement even possible?  How long can I keep working?  Can I keep a good paying job, even as my age starts approaching 70?


Well, the end of August crept up on me and it became time for a new year of school to start.  I've mentioned before that for the last 8 years I've been a high school math teacher.  During that time I've taught Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Statistics, and Personal Finance.  Because of state budget cuts and other problems, I left my last job and last year I was a "Math Intervention Specialist" at a different school.  While the job title, Math Intervention Specialist, sounds intimidating (and looks great on a resume), it really means that I was a full-time math tutor helping at-risk students who were struggling with their math class.

My job wasn't just being a tutor in the traditional sense; that is, helping students with their homework.  I also was tasked with helping back-fill their basic math knowledge, especially in areas such as fractions, percentages, and multiplication and division. This was a very satisfying, if often frustrating, job and the results of testing showed that I was making significant progress with these students.  However, the school did not have the budget to pay for this needed service themselves, so I was working on a federal grant which paid hourly and did not include any benefits; no paid holidays, no sick days, no health insurance, and no paid vacation.  I paid my own health insurance through the Cobra Insurance program under my previous school's plan..

This year the grant was renewed and I started back to school as a math tutor.  Two days into the school year, however, one of the Computer Technology teachers resigned to accept a position as a principal in another school district.  Well, besides my certification in high school Mathematics, I'm also certified in Computer Technology and Business Education.  I applied for the position and on the fourth day of the school year, I was the new Computer Technology teacher, this time as a staff member and with full benefits.

Starting a new course from scratch is difficult and time-consuming.  However, the other Computer Technology teacher (we have two in our high school), is helping me get lesson plans and curriculum schedules put together.  And, the teacher who left the position left behind many course materials for me to use.  The teaching staff at this school, as it has been in every school I've worked, is extremely helpful and supportive.  I'm a lucky man.

So, what's any of this have to do with my plans to live in an RV?  Well, first, it, along with Medicare that I joined this summer, provides me with health insurance benefits, which will save me a significant amount of money.  Secondly, it pays better and will allow me to save more money towards purchasing an RV in the future.  I'm also adding more years of service to my retirement system.  While I won't have enough service years to get a full pension from our state retirement program, each additional year I work will provide me additional income throughout my retirement years.  And, finally, as long as I do my job well, I don't have as much concern about being out of work if the math grant isn't renewed each year.  Although, in these times of uncertainty and budget cuts, no one's job is totally secure.

So, now I'm adjusting my plans.  Hopefully I'll have more savings to use in purchasing and customizing my RV.  Perhaps I can even buy one a year earlier than planned so I can use it over the summer before I retire.  Attending some of the local and regional rallies in my area would surely improve my adjustment to life on the road.

I also thought I'd use this post to include some more information about me.  First, someone asked (jokingly) if the picture at the top of the page is my RV.  LOL.  No, but since I live in Lancaster County, PA, covered bridges are one of the more famous images of our county (as well as the wonderful Amish people who live here).  So, until I get an RV, I'm using a picture of one of our local covered bridges in my header.

Someone else has asked what I do, besides work and spend time planning for my retirement.  Well, I do have a life. :-)  I play guitar (and sort of plunk on the keyboard) and write songs.  I also play in a band called "Bloated Roadkill" (see www.bloated-roadkill.com).  We released a self-produced album of original songs last year and are working on a second one, tentatively to be released next summer.  We usually just play at parties or benefit functions.  It's all for fun with us, not fame or fortune.  We do have a gig scheduled already for December 21st this year...an "End of the World" party...lol.

While this is also work, I run a part-time computer business.  I support a large telecommunications data program I wrote several years ago.  My customers need maintenance support as well as customized reports and processes.   Occasionally we still sell a new system. (www.teledat.com)

And, I was an extra in a movie this past year and hope to do this again in the future.  Someday, I'd even like to get a small "bit" part in a film.  It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun; and I met some wonderful people who worked on the film.  Hopefully it will be released next year.  It's a feature film called "Mount Joy".  (see www.mountjoymovie.com) If you see it, I'm the old fat guy with the ponytail in the background!

Well, in two weeks the Hershey RV Show is back in town.  I'm planning on being there and I'll give you a report on what I see and do.  I also hope to write another post before then, detailing some more of my RV planning and my progress in the new computer class I'm teaching.

If you have any questions, just ask.



 

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