Retirement

When I retired, I was invited to speak at the senior awards assembly at my high school. I told the students that my wish for them was that  each would find as much joy and fulfillment in their life’s work as I had found in mine.  I loved teaching, and I still feel a longing to be back in my very own classroom. When I think of my “kids” I miss them: “I’ll love them forever. I’ll like them for always. As long as I’m living, my students they’ll be.”

Sometimes I think back to my first years of teaching and I want to call all those former students and say, “I’m sorry.” I did so many things wrong. I made so many stupid mistakes in the name of discipline and in the denial of who I was as a person. My inclination to smile and offer words of greeting to my ninth and tenth graders was stifled by the Ed 101 dictum, “Don’t smile till Christmas!”

Fortunately, I gave up on the falseness of trying to be what I was not. But I never let go of beating myself up when things went wrong. Retirement meant that I no longer had the responsibility for the learning lives of others. But oh, how I miss the joy!

 

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10 thoughts on “Retirement

  1. Diane, the line from LOVE YOU FOREVER tugs at my heart every time! While I’m not on the cusp of retirement, I connected with your post. So many times we get so caught up in the curriculum and discipline that we forget about the human element of teaching. Thanks for the subtle reminder.

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  2. My nephew gave his senior speech and in it he talked about life. He mentioned he wanted to find something he loved to – like his Aunt Clare. He said my faced lit up, my voice quickened and my passion was evident whenever I discussed my job. He wants that in whatever he chooses to do, My brother taped it and sent it to me — I am not sure I realized it until I heard it in his words. I think you gave them good advice — it is a great job!!! And… I can’t imagine you not smiling until December.
    Clare

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  3. I missed having the class, but I volunteered at my old school some, and helped homeschoolers locally. It has been a tapering off in a way. I miss the “teacher conversation” and the kid-talk! But I am happy to be retired, too!

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  4. I think you are still responsible for the learning lives of others, but you have reinvented how that looks – you teach your grandchildren with your examples of how to live life and care for others, you teach other professionals through your workshops and books. I think teaching is never very far from those who pursued it with passion.

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