Figuring It Out

My daughter asks, How’s it going Mom? I know what she means, it’s the big R in the room: How’s the retirement? Some ask out of curiosity, well meaning friends, often those who have already retired, and some out of envy, waiting for their turn. None malicious, I know that as well. But I really don’t have an answer. It is summer and at this time most of my teacher friends are “out of school.” Those that teach in our summer program will soon be on summer break. Many of the teachers have gone to various week long seminars and workshops for PD. They will come back at the end of August, sharing their learning, ready to apply it to their teaching. For now I am spending my time with my family who are visiting from Dallas. My daughter, many times the wise one says, “What’s to figure out? September will find you on the sub list at your school. You will read all those books you have piled up and go out with your friends. The rest will fall in place!” She’s right, I know, but not knowing is hard. It is frightening and feels overwhelming, the openness of this, the lack of routine and schedule, is not in my comfort zone. Often times my personal reflections trigger a connection to my teaching, my classroom, my kinders and this is no different.

My ah-ha moment as I recall how often we ask our students to “figure it out” whether in conflicts, to problem solve or in their academic work. Figuring it out is not always easy! What is it we really ask of them and ourselves? Do we reassure them that they can (figure it out)? Is the safety net (whatever or whomever) close by? Have we given them the tools to “figure it out.” Have we helped them use those tools? And here is where resilience comes in.


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4 Responses to Figuring It Out

  1. My mother retired in May after forty years in classrooms, and I too, wonder how long it will take for her to find or create a new rhythm for her days and the development of new interests. At present she has abandoned her external clocks, her internal clock is asserting itself with gusto, and she’s having a difficult time expressing her views on education: “When I was a teacher…” and other similarly past tense phrased comments. She’ll always be a teacher, but it’s part of the retirement process I think. Finding footing, reflecting on the past. What a transition. Are there Twitter chats for retired teachers?

    Michaele (@msommerville)

    • faige says:

      Thank you for sharing your mother’s journey so far. I know I will always be a teacher, just part of my DNA! What an interesting question about retiree chat. Hmmm

  2. Katharine says:

    I’m planing to retire next June, Faige, and wonder all the time if I’ll be able to figure it out. The ending of a style of life I love as well as planning and being sure I figure out a great style for the rest of my life.
    I know I’ll be coming back to read this insightful and oh so positive post of yours.

    • faige says:

      Thank you Katherine. Really going to take one day at a time for now. My husband’s health issues of paramount concern. What do they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray….or something like that. But I know my love for what I have done for most of my adult life will still steer my ship.

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