California Educator

May / June 2017

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Page 49 of 59

N O R M A H E E T E R loved being a high school Spanish teacher. Unlike some of her colleagues, she was not counting the days until retirement. "I always thought I'd stay as long as possible and go out kicking and screaming," she muses. But in 2003, Heeter left the classroom to become a Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) consulting teacher, which allowed her to work a longer contract and raise her final salar y. She served as a PAR teacher for three years, working under a hostile and unpopular super - intendent w ho often targeted teach ers unfairly. Sh e finally decided that after 39 years of teaching, she had had enough. It was time to retire and enjoy life. "e minute I sent in my retirement papers, I felt a sense of great relief, and I wanted it to happen immediately," she laughs. "It was the right decision." ese days she is busy as the president of the San Diego Education Association's chapter of CTA/NEA-Retired, whose members enjoy luncheons, movies, museum visits and other outings. She goes on runs with her Corvette Club, and was also president of that. And she enjoys spend- ing time with her husband and grandchildren. "ere are plenty of things to do," she says, while lunch- ing with longtime friend and fellow SDEA retiree Ellie Cole. When Is It Time to Retire? Do your homework and plan for life after school By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman Norma Heeter and Ellie Cole maintain busy lives after leaving the classroom. 48 CTA & You

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