Bohuslav Jeremias Primary Art School
Status: State Primary School
Interviewee: Mrg. Michaela Hudečková, school principal and part time teacher
Country: Czech Republic
The retirement age is being extended. Have you considered this matter?
Not at the moment. Retirement isn't a consideration for me right now. My work brings me a great deal of fulfilment. It's not just a job; it's also my hobby, and it has been for a long time. The work I do doesn't drain my energy; instead, I find genuine enjoyment in it.
So, you don't foresee a decline in your ability to work? Both as a teacher and as a director?
Certainly, when someone isn't feeling well or is under the weather, they would naturally prefer some rest. But as of now, I still have energy to spare. I have two dogs at home, and looking after them keeps me active. They ensure I stay in good shape.
Do you believe your work capacity will remain the same at the age of 65?
I believe so. That's just two years away! 😊 Despite having three kids, retirement might be a possibility by now. However, I don't feel like someone ready for retirement myself.
Besides taking care of your dogs, are there other factors that contribute to your fitness?
The environment itself plays a significant role. Our school is performing well, achieving excellent results. We host numerous events, and the staff here are content. So far, I feel at ease and genuinely enjoy my time here.
If you sensed a waning motivation or diminishing energy for work, what steps would you take?
If the workload began to exhaust me excessively, I might consider stepping down from the administrative role and focus on teaching instead, albeit for fewer hours. I'd gradually scale back my responsibilities to ensure I feel good and continue to find joy in coming here.
Do your colleagues share a similar approach?
I continually observe how engaged they are and how they're adapting. People are interested and consistently seek opportunities for personal growth. They proactively search for areas of interest and even suggest inviting guest lecturers. Age doesn't seem to deter their enthusiasm; even the more senior members remain passionate and committed. In an art school, it's somewhat different from a regular primary school, where teachers often become overwhelmed by the demands of an entire class. In our case, we work individually and with students who possess skills, which makes it a pleasure. We even have a retired teacher who hasn't exhibited any signs of diminished work capability. Our activities are diverse, from training sessions to frequent concerts and class celebrations, and they keep us busy. It appears that in art schools, teaching is more of a calling than just a means of income; it's about making the most of one's time. Even the older teachers seem far from exhausted.
Does the ability to work diminish due to physical ailments or health issues among your staff?
While there may be instances where a teacher's capacity to work is affected due to injury, vision loss, or hearing impairment, such cases are rare. More often than not, these issues are exceptions rather than the norm.
Do certain staff members face more challenging circumstances in performing their duties, such as personal responsibilities?
We do have one colleague who has a sick daughter, leading to more demanding caregiving responsibilities. However, apart from her, no one else here is significantly hindered by family situations or the care of an ill family member. Nevertheless, even if such situations were to arise, we accommodate flexible working hours or part-time arrangements. Some institutions mandate that teachers be present in classrooms for preparation, but I find this unnecessary. If a teacher fulfils their responsibilities effectively, they should be free to prepare at their convenience.
What do you consider to be an indicator of a job well done?
The final exams are certainly a crucial benchmark. Beyond that, our teachers show their support by attending each other's hospitalizations, students perform at concerts, and, most importantly, our success rate in competitions serves as a strong indicator.
Have you experienced burnout?
Not at all. Quite the opposite, our teachers are highly proactive and driven. Personally, I view our school as a happy and dynamic environment. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but the atmosphere is always vibrant. Our teachers are intrinsically motivated to excel. For instance, our guitar department willingly organizes performances in hospitals or nursing homes out of their own volition. It's both an enjoyable experience and a means of educating our students. Interestingly, as I reflect on it, I find that I don't have to compel anyone to participate; our staff genuinely relishes their roles here.