Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

When does the annoyance outweigh the money?

It’s an interesting thought exercise for someone like me who has taken on some work after retirement – when is it time to pull the pin on doing this?

Today is the halfway point of my full-time teaching gig for term 1 at my old school. I have a teaching load divided evenly between English and History and all of the classes are were lovely. I know the English course very well and could almost teach it blindfolded, while the year 8 History class is covering Medieval Europe – I love this.

Then there’s the year 9 History class. They’re doing Australian history, not my favourite thing, but the class was nice and there was only one slightly feral kid in there. He was pretty much on his own though, so it wasn’t a big thing.

And then they introduced a new kid into the class…

It’s amazing how in a group of 28 kids, introducing one new kid can change the dynamic of the whole class. Every teacher reading this will know exactly what I mean.

A week ago, there was a strange boy sitting in the middle of the room.

“Hello Miss, I’m new,” he said.

Then he proceeded to try and talk about Adolf Hitler at the top of his lungs. I gently pointed out that Hitler wasn’t alive when the First Fleet was landing, and after a bit more back and forth he decided to pipe down. It wasn’t the most auspicious beginning. Each day, he was getting a little louder and a bit harder to shut down, while the original naughty kid was delighted to discover that he had a kindred spirit.

Yesterday, I had year 9 History straight after lunch. The class was loud, talkative, and unwilling to settle to work, while the two naughty boys were feeding off each other and performing for their audience.

I looked at them when they were waving their hands around, being utterly convinced that they were hilarious, and thought, “You know, I think I might be getting over having to deal with immature year 9 boys. After all, I don’t HAVE to be here…”

Of course, life being how it is, I’m typing this post while I’m sitting in front of the same class. They’re doing a practice learning task and so the room is deathly quiet. The new kid is writing, while the other one is probably drawing, once I took his laptop away from him. The rest of the class is diligently working – the kids might enjoy the new floor show that arrived last week but they still want to do well on their assessment tasks.

I had a nice interaction with the new kid as he handed his work in – he has a really lovely smile. There’s a good kid inside that annoying “I’m a new kid and I want to make my mark” guy.

Next week I know I’ll be wresting back my hold on the class, which can take a lot of energy. Ugh! Meanwhile, on the plus side I have my other classes who are all absolutely lovely. This situation with the two year-9 boys is in no way a deal-breaker. I know I’ll almost certainly still take CRT days (after a long break after finishing this stint!)

But I still think it’s an interesting question… when does something at work become too much to want to deal with, even when the pay is extremely generous and the work I do is in demand?

And how good is it to have financial independence? When I decide that enough is enough, I have the freedom to simply walk away and close this chapter of my life.

Dad joke of the day:

Which days are the strongest?

Saturday and Sunday.

All the rest are weak days.


  1. Maureen

    It is an interesting question and of course depends on individual circumstances. Toward the end of my career there were some days I’d have gladly paid the school to let me stay home. And I’m a fairly frugal person. That’s when I knew it was time to go.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Yep, it’d be hard to ignore that sign!

  2. Josie

    Assuming financial independence, the answer my friends and I came up with: When it stops you from doing all the things YOU want to do! Especially as travel and other fun activities will become harder more quickly than we want.

    I’m sure you will win that new kid over!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Everyone’s having trouble with him – thankfully it isn’t just me that he singles out for ‘special’ treatment.
      You hve a good point about the travel. At least this stint of teaching is actually paying for that.

  3. sandyg61

    Remember you retired early for YOU and YOU come first now.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Hmmm. I guess that’s why teachers always get screwed over in wage negotiations with the government. We always put the school/kids first.

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