Here we are … in the year 4. I was a teacher for thirty years. THIRTY YEARS! Those years, for the most part, flew by. As anyone married to a teacher knows the actual year starts in September – not in January. And those who are not teachers but have teaching friends … know to bid them farewell between September and June. But DO look them up in July! It is a great profession. A demanding profession. A profession that allows you to learn new things on a daily basis, to meet SO MANY people, gives you a chance to dabble in art, try your hand at music, read, read and read some more, and celebrate all the learning landmarks that group after group of children reach while sharing their days with you.
It also is a profession that puts you smack in the front row when families in crisis blast to smithereens and the fallout takes you with it. You meet some friendly people – and some darn unfriendly ones too. You even meet some people – some young – some adults – that you should not be in a room alone with …
I do not miss that aspect of teaching in the least. I’m not great at dealing with conflict. I take much too much to heart. This is my fourth ‘new year’ as a retired hermit. When I take in big breaths of fresh air and stop to listen to the wind in the trees I find myself wondering how my family and friends in the classroom are doing. I am so thankful for this time, while I am still healthy, to enjoy the seasons. To be outside as long as I can each day. To be one of a herd. 😉
I sometimes wonder, at this end of my life, whether I would have been happier in a less ‘social’ occupation. There is such peace in spending days with so little need for talking, organizing people, committee work … I’ve had people explain to me that they simply got ‘peopled out’ in their teaching career. And that in retirement they are perfectly happy to limit their socializing to family and close friends. I can see that being a big part of my situation too.
When I did teach I loved it. I moved quickly, thought quickly, multi-tasked and gobbled up research and new ideas. I got as excited over the beginning of a new school year as I did over Christmas when I was a child. Now, apprenticing at being a hermit (Ede is my mentor), I move slowly, think slowly, focus on one thing at a time and take time to really ‘chew on’ new ideas. I’m enjoying just trying to be the best animal I can be.