seven things I had learned from teaching sixth and seventh graders so now what I have learned from being retired?
1. It's fun being a tourist in your own city. I realized when a friend and I flew to the San Francisco area this summer and then did a road trip to Santa Barbara, that we made the most of our time. I decided I really wanted to do that in my own city. Sure there are the things you have to do and should do but you really need to be a tourist in your own city and see it with fresh eyes and this is something I have enjoyed doing this fall. Now it helps if you live in a city with so much natural beauty and so many things to do like Vancouver but I can honestly say that for the last 33 years since I have lived here except for my first year here when I didn't initially teach, fall was a bit of a blur because I was so busy teaching...
2. An iphone is wonderful. I resisted getting one and only ever had the simplest type of cell phone because I feared the addictive quality of always being "connected" but I love always having a camera with me and I think I have taken some great pictures with my iphone5 and it takes so little room, even less than my small digital camera. I have a pedometer on it so I know how much I walk as well. I always have a book to read on it. And I can check on things when I want. I send pictures galore. It has helped me with my Spanish as I have two great aps Duolingo and Mindbits on both my phone and ipad. I can use it instead of printing out tickets. I really love it.
4. Having a bit of a schedule is good-but free time is nice as well. At the beginning I set Tuesday mornings aside to work in my friend's first grade class. Wednesday I spend the first half hour at another school, reading to her kindergarten students while she conferences with her first graders who are independently reading. During basketball season I coached before school Tuesday and did games after school Thursday and usually an extra practice after school Friday but volleyball is on now so I am free until I coach basketball in January. I have continued my regular fitness and yoga classes Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday nights I do Spanish. Monday and Friday are my totally free days where I can decide what I want to do.
5. I love working with first graders. My teaching career has been very varied which was great. The last four years I taught sixth and seventh grade and Angela's class was our buddy class but I really wasn't working with first graders. I loved working with them when I was a resource teacher, I love teaching kids to read, and I love how they are such their own people at this age. Anyway it is great doing this each week-just going in and working with Angela and her class. I love it!
7. I loved the drama but I don't miss the drama. When you teach grade seven there is no lack of drama and it makes for lots of excitement. Also sixth and seventh graders have a lot of energy and they gave me energy but it's really enough just to go visit.
8. I don't miss all the work. I actually like planning units and seeing the process and results and I liked assessing and figuring out what to do next. I loved watching kids succeed. I loved the kids as well and they made me often laugh. But it was a lot of work! Probably two hours of prep and two hours at least of marking a day... Also I took on ipads and maintaining a class blog and a moodle website and that was a great deal of extra work as well. Then there were report cards and all the other extras I did at school. It was non stop and each year there was more work it seemed. There are apparently 9 to 3 teachers but it just isn't in my nature to be one.
9. I really like to learn. I went to Spain a year and a half ago and wished I knew some Spanish so I signed up for Spanish One last September with a friend. I enjoyed it but wasn't sure I was ready for Spanish 2 and my friend had had enough of Spanish and moved onto French. I also found it took quite a bit of time so I left it there. This year I decided to try Spanish 2. First class I almost left as I didn't understand much of anything and thought I should take Spanish 1 again but it got better. From years of conjugating verbs in French, that comes more easily to me in Spanish. I found great aps to fill in my Spanish One gaps and I did my homework. I think I am doing really well each week until I get to class but by the end of class I am always laughing and I feel good about it. I don't have any natural aptitude for languages but I sure know more than I did a year and a half ago, and I really do love to learn!
11. And I am even coping with short days and November. The time changed Sunday and I missed the first early nightfall because I went to a movie. But I wasn't impressed this week with the short days and then torrential rains but I got through them. I just made sure that opened my blinds as soon as it was light. A friend and I braved the rainy elements and had a delightful afternoon in the west end with a Japanese lunch at a new restaurant to me, and a visit to Roedde House, where I had never been. I had incredibly beautiful walks in Queen Elizabeth Park and at Spanish Banks when it wasn't raining. Last night coming out of the Pacific Rim Fairmont I even almost embraced the night as it was so beautiful looking at Canada Place. And when the sun shone warmly as it did yesterday morning I really appreciated it. Now if there is too much rain I may be soon looking for cheap getaways...
12. Time-I love having time. I actually get my library Fast Reads read on time. I have time to spend
Anyway these are a few things I have learned since I have been retired. A few years ago I was "given" a financial planner by my bank and he asked what I wanted to do when I retired, all I could think of to say was travel. I think he thought I was a bit strange. That also may explain why I wasn't in a hurry to retire. Strangely, I haven't gone anywhere other than Victoria or Whistler this fall and haven't even made any real plans. I actually nixed a couple of plans. I have lots of places I want to see and I will, but somehow this fall I have been happy here and feeling very fortunate and appreciative.