Well I haven't been on this blog lately-though I have posted quite a bit on my My Beautiful Vancouver blog. I can't believe I have now been retired for a year! I can see how time slips away! In some ways summer seems the most normal time because one thing about being a teacher is you are used to having summers off, though most of us at some points have taken courses or taught in the summer, but we are used to having this less structured time, time I think teachers do need to recharge one's batteries. One thing I loved about teaching was I felt like it was like the magic slate I had when I was a child. At the end of the school year, you were able to lift the page and all was clear so you could start again. Of course that next year would be the perfect one, the one where you had learned from all your past mistakes. Even at the end of May or June in the midst of end of year chaos, I would be thinking ahead to how I would change things in the coming year.
By the end of August I was usually in my classroom, getting everything nicely ready, new notebooks and supplies out, the classroom would be sparkling clean! I loved the beginning of the year because anything was possible. Of course I knew that it wouldn't stay that way and that mistakes would be made and students can quickly mess up that perfect classroom, but there was always that lovely ideal picture.
When I worked at the school board, the rhythm was different. I usually was worrying about the big literacy conference I would have to put on and there would be projects that I would kind of be in the midst of, even in summer. The magic slate didn't clean quite so easily. I watched a TV show where they had to put on a weekly variety show and the programmer was already worried about planning the next program before the first one had finished being aired. I totally got it. I was always having to put on workshops and coordinating meetings, and wanting them to be worth teachers giving up their valuable time, hopefully giving them inspiration.
Wednesday I had my annual lunch with mojitos with Clara with whom I used to teach grade seven. Grade seven teachers are particularly busy in June with graduation ceremonies, special field trips, lengthy report cards,the writing certificates, and just making sure everything is ready for students to transition to high school. There also is a certain degree of drama as these adolescents ready themselves for a big transition. The idea of that civilized long lunch with us sitting outside with our special drinks was always kind of a light at the end of the tunnel for us.
Since I still volunteer a couple of mornings a week at school, I keep in touch with my former colleagues and the lunch was on. It was a different year for both of us, me not teaching, and her, spending the last two weeks on strike, a strike that still is not settled.
But we had a great time Wednesday. Clara and I always have lots to discuss! And how do I feel having been "retired" for a year? I feel fine…absolutely fine…Do I look forward to volunteering in September? Of course!