Seniors Working

In my previous article, I mentioned writing about working seniors at Hixson Elementary. Now, I am sharing my second article. On my sixty-fifth birthday, I noticed many of my friends were retiring, but I decided to keep working until my mind or body could not handle it anymore. Or, until the first morning when I do not want to wake up at five-thirty.

As we go about our daily routines, whether we are shopping or working it is easy to see, that seniors are impacting the American workforce. According to a Pew Research Center analysis finding, at least 1 in 5 Americans over sixty-five are continuing to hold jobs. This equates to a twofold jump when compared to the 1980s. Translation? Over the past two decades, the number of senior citizens in the workforce has quadrupled to reach eleven million. 

Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that working seniors over 65 are projected to be one of the few demographic populations rising among the labor force.

Whether older Americans are working because they want to or must, they are boosting the economy. However, the downside to this could be the end of traditional pensions as we know them and the lack of significant retirement savings as reported by Pew senior researcher Richard Fry. 

So, now let us talk about Ms. Cathy Elrod, a second-grade teacher at Hixson Elementary. 

“It was probably five months after school had started before, I had a real conversation with Ms. Elrod. I mean, I was never standoffish, and whenever possible, I said ‘good morning’ as I passed her at her classroom door. The thing is, she was always so quiet.

After I proposed the idea of writing an article about her, I left our conversation with the realization that she was not only articulate but also very kind. I felt confident that the second-grade students she taught must adore her. I was overjoyed when she agreed to do the article, as her life story is quite fascinating. And now, without further ado, I present to you, her story.

Ms. Elrod was born in Centre, Alabama, and is about to turn fifty-nine. Ms. Elrod, the third of three children, is the only one in the educational field. Her parents, both in their 80s, are blessed to still be alive. This school season marks her twenty-third year of teaching.

Ms. Elrod initially aimed to become a librarian but later joined the teaching profession. She has held various jobs, including working at a university’s Business Office and a hospital’s Kidney Transplant Tracking Department. She also worked in the recruitment office of another college and took advantage of a free class. To get a teaching degree, she applied for the fifth-year program and gained a year of classroom experience.

Ms. Elrod had various dreams and interests when she was in elementary school. She wanted to be an oceanographer, a teacher, and a truck driver. Despite her petite figure, I am confident that she would be capable of handling an eighteen-wheeler.

Ms. Elrod likes to travel during her leisure time. She has visited many countries around the world including Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Mexico, and Amsterdam.

Ms. Elrod is an avid reader who spends most of her free time indulging in books. Once, I had tried cross-stitching, but I decided that if I going to strain my eyes, I would rather do so by reading. After school, I enjoy hitting the gym, solving crossword puzzles, and reading. During summer, my routine varies depending on the day. Sometimes, I attend professional development, but I usually manage to go to the gym at least three times a week.

Ms. Elrod has expressed that what she enjoys most about her job is the impact she has on her students’ lives. When asked about her favorite aspects of teaching, she mentioned the students and the staff. Upon retirement, Ms. Elrod plans to move back to Alabama and continue working in the teaching field. It seems that she will be a dedicated senior who will continue to make a difference in the lives of students. 

What do you want people to know about you? At the age of seven, I became a Christian and now I rely on my faith and prayers every day.

According to my sources, Ms. Thuy Myers the ENL specialist at the school, and Ms. Elrod are close friends. I asked Myers to share some words about Ms. Elrod.

Hixson Elementary is blessed to have Ms. Elrod on staff. Ms. Elrod is confident and works hard to continue to better her craft as an educator. She is kind and very patient with her students. Not only does she take pride in the culture of her classroom, but she is transparent in her reasonings for why she does or expects things from her students. Ms. Elrod also has a wicked sense of humor that I appreciate. I am grateful for her friendship. 

Mrs. Hillery Johnson the assistant principal, also has words for Ms. Elrod.

Ms. Elrod’s love for children and passion for teaching make her an asset to Hixson Elementary School.  She is reflective in her teaching practice and is a team player.  She builds relationships with her students and always has their best interests at heart.  We are so fortunate to have Ms. Elrod as an educator at Hixson Elementary!

Thank you, Mrs. Johnson, and Ms. Myers.

Ms. Elrod, I just wanted to take a moment to express how much I have enjoyed getting to know you. It has been a pleasure and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to connect with such a wonderful person like you.

M.L. Holly

For more information about working seniors go to 1 in 5 seniors still work — and they’re happier than younger workers By Aimee Picchi December 14, 2023