Three faculty members will be officially retiring as the 2015-2016 school year comes to a close. Math teacher Pamela Dixon, soccer coach and history teacher Robert Wilcher, and science teacher Andrea Wilcher will all get to sleep in a little longer next fall, if they want.
Dixon, who has been teaching math for 30 years wishes to be remembered by students as an individual who made a difference.
“I hope I leave behind a sense that I always tried to do my best for my students, whether it was teaching them some math, or helping them through a hard time,” Dixon said.
Rob Wilcher, who has also been teaching for 30 years, and 21 years at Roberson, agrees. He hopes his students learned a little and enjoyed class, and that his players have memories of soccer that will last a lifetime.
As for Andrea Wilcher, teaching science at TC Roberson was her fifth teaching job since 1986, and Roberson was also one of the most memorable schools she has worked with.
“I have made so many lifelong friends here at TCR. Many students have been so special to me as well,” she said.
Although these three teachers are a small fraction of the total staff at Roberson, the number of teachers who are retiring in 2016 county-wide is slightly larger than past years. The increased number of retirees this year could possibly raise concern towards a teacher shortage in upcoming years, a common problem for schools all across the country.
The “teacher deficit” is a situation that has recently caused some concern in school systems across the country. The number of teachers graduating from college and entering the teaching profession has been substantially less than the number of educators choosing to retire.
According to National Public Radio, North Carolina teacher enrollment in teacher training programs in North Carolina has decreased by 20 percent in the last three years. States such as California, New York, and Texas have also experienced decreases as steep as 53 percent.
However, recent labor statistics may show a different outlook. The 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey estimated a 17 percent national increase in teacher employment from 2010 to 2020, citing higher enrollment and decline in student-teacher ratios.
Either way, according to Principal Amy Rhoney, Roberson is a school that likely will not see any real chance of positions not being filled.
“Because of our school’s reputation, folks desire to be a part of Roberson and we have not had problems filling positions while I have been here. In fact, some positions are already filled for next year, and our goal is to have them set in time for summer,” Rhoney said.
Rhoney acknowledges the devotion, dedication, and time put in by each of the three teachers leaving TC, and she said she wanted to thank Dixon and the Wilchers for their service on behalf of the school.
“We are going to miss them greatly. Between our three retirees this year, we have about 90 years of experience walking out the door. That’s a lot of good experience that we will miss. We hate to see them go, but we are very happy for them at the same time,” she said.