This is the question I am often asked when I run into friends and acquaintances I haven’t seen in a while and they learn I retired from teaching early. This actually happened yesterday at a local quilt shop when I ran into two AMQG members I hadn’t seen in ages. They tried to guess the reason: the kids (no), the parents (partly), the school system (partly), the politicians (yep) and money (no). Personally, I grew weary of unrealistic expectations, school and district level dysfunction and teachers being blamed for all of society’s ills. I worked at one of the most challenging schools in my district for SEVEN years. By the end, I had nothing left to give. I simply couldn’t do it any more. One of the counselors even told me his hat was off to me as he didn’t think I’d last when I first arrived in 2015. The more I hear about all the mandates coming for the 2022-23 school year, I’m so thankful I was able leave my job at the end of May. More confirmation I made the right decision.
The next question I’m invariably asked is – will you ever go back to teaching? Psst: I never stopped teaching. I stopped working for the local school district. I still teach: (a) in my home sewing studio (b) at quilt camp (c) READing visits with Sadie and (d) as a guest in other educator’s classrooms. Every day I learn of more volunteer opportunities that will utilize my teaching skills – as a reader for Georgia Library Service for the Blind and as a part of Clark Howard’s Consumer Action Team. I even consider writing product reviews and tutorials for this blog as teaching activities. I’m a firm believer in lifelong learning and the (legal/ethical) sharing of information. Knowledge is power and levels the playing field. With so much stuff on the internet behind a paywall now, this is one reason I consistently advocate exploring the resources available at your local public library.
My time spent at quilt camp did make me realize two things: (a) there’s no way I want to return to a full-time job unless I absolutely have to and (b) how much I detest ATL traffic. Quilt camp weeks aside, I want meaningful volunteer activities that happen a couple of days a week with the rest of the week for family, friends, quilting and whatever else I want to do. This, along with a hefty side of travel thrown in, is my current version of the “ideal” retirement. What’s yours?