When I retired from teaching full-time in 2010, I had no concrete ideas as to what my future would hold. At that point, I was sure that I no longer wanted the daily grind of full-time teaching and was looking to the future with no clear picture of what it would be like.
And so here I am, in 2019, and am still teaching. I work a half day every day, teaching a couple of fifth grade science classes. I enjoy what I do, although there are those days where I contemplate fully retiring. But today is not one of those days.
After taking a six month required hiatus from any teaching duties, I started substitute teaching. I could work when I wanted to and learned there were certain schools I favored over others. And of course, there was that golden word “No” when I didn’t feel like working.
Along the way I bumped into a principal whose son I’d taught and she asked if I would be interested in doing a maternity leave at a small rural school and after a short period of contemplation, agreed to it. I’ve now completed three maternity leaves at that same school, including two for the same person. The first child is now a student at the school I’m working at and I think that’s pretty neat. I’ve also completed two other maternity leaves in addition to those three.
One year I took over for a teacher who retired in October, fully expecting to work just nine weeks. That nine weeks turned into twenty-seven weeks when the couldn’t find a permanent recruit. Another time I worked for half a year with an eighth grade class…their teacher had left half way through the year. That had to be one of my most challenging assignments, since the classes had not done a whole lot of what they were supposed to have done for the first half of the year.
My current assignment is one that lasts from year to year. After a great first year, this time around I’m teaching in a mobile classroom, aka trailer, and that has been a real challenge. But I still enjoy going to work most days and enjoy working with the students. My current principal says he’d like to retain me for next year, but that’s all up in the air for now.
I’m redefining the word retirement, that’s true. But I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.