Fredericton — The superintendent of Anglophone West School District has announced that Fredericton High School will undergo construction during the summer months to build a large nursing-home unit. The attachment will help ease the transition for elderly teachers from full-time employment to full-time care.
Superintendent David McTimoney said the state-of-the-art facility will be the first of many in the province, and that it makes sense for the oldest English high school in Canada to also employ the oldest teachers in New Brunswick. “FHS used to be down on the corner of York and George in 1893 — and we actually have some of the original teachers still working here. When the school moved to its current location in 1925, those teachers came right along with it. They say they’re still worn out from that move, and they’re not about to move again to a nursing home.
“They’re so dedicated to education, they simply refuse to retire,” McTimoney added with a shrug. “So, we’re going to do our best to accommodate them.”
Some critics of the decision argue that the school should force any teachers older than 85 into retirement; this would allow young education grads to fill their spots rather than making them look out-of-province for teaching positions.
“I’ve been supplying at FHS for almost 10 years now,” said Heidi Hanson, 34. “I’d love the consistency of a full-time teaching gig, but I guess I have to wait for some of these geezers to kick the bucket. Seriously — do they need to be working until they die? Some of them are still teaching ‘arithmetic’ and slapping left-handed students with a ruler, forcing them to use their ‘correct’ hand. And I know at least 2 teachers here are still making use of a ‘dunce cap’ on a regular basis. Give it a rest!”
History teacher Ebineezer Keaton, 121, has lived out every event he’s ever taught; as he can accurately recount history for his students from memory, the school is reluctant to push him into retirement in order to save money on textbooks. Keaton said his savings are nowhere near what they’d need to be for him to live out his remaining golden years in comfort, let alone luxury. “I started putting away a dollar a week when I first got hired by FHS,” he said. “Now, in those days, a dollar a week could get you 2 new pairs of slacks and some Ganong black licorice, your rent, enough feed for your horses and all your kids, a shoeshine …” He trailed off when he noticed a scantily clad Grade 11 student striding down the hall, and began to shuffle along behind her and holler at her to cover up.
McTimoney claims that going forward with the nursing wing is crucial given the school’s bad rap in recent months. “After the whole dress-code fiasco, we’ve been trying to come up with ways to build good PR, and to cut the faculty some slack. I just don’t want to be accused of ageism or elder abuse or anything like that.”
The wing is being funded by STU BEd students’ tuitions and will mean a hefty tax hike for New Brunswickers. Construction begins the day after prom.