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HIRE YOUNG TEACHERS, NOT RETIRED ONES

I am responding to the Sept. 14 article, "Regents eye rehiring retired teachers." The state Board of Regents has proposed that retired teachers be allowed to return to the classroom, while keeping their pension and earning full salaries.

In order to head off an anticipated teacher shortage, the board was also seeking money from Gov. George Pataki and the State Legislature to establish a mentoring program and to expand teacher-training programs in state colleges and universities.

I am a secondary social studies teacher now in my third year of retirement. Last year, I was hired by Canisius College to supervise student teachers. I taught in the Erie Community College Summer School this past July and August. This is the 34th consecutive year that I have taught summer school. In good conscience, I cannot return to the classroom at full pay.

I supervised four student teachers during the spring semester and I am currently supervising four more. I have also assisted three other student teachers during the past year. These are the people who deserve to be in the classroom, not me.

I had some very talented and creative student teachers last year. Unfortunately, only one of these individuals has a job. I was able to secure a summer school teaching job at ECC for this young lady.

I tried to provide as much mentoring as I could after class each day. She didn't need much help, because she is already one of the best young teachers I have ever worked with. She is currently a permanent substitute in a suburban school system.

And what about the thousands of young teachers without a job or the many others who have been forced to move out of state to secure employment? These are the people who deserve the jobs.

I do support the last two proposals. Expanded teacher education programs with retired teachers sharing their ideas and methods with young teachers would be very effective. Mentoring programs would be another effective tool in helping young teachers through their first few years.

JERRY COLLINS

Lancaster

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