Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Opinion

May 27, 2012

Thoughts on retirement

Knoxville —  

In a few short weeks I will retire after 34 years of teaching.  When I see people around the community, they ask me what I’m going to do with all of my time.  It’s a good question.  I wish I had a good answer.  I’m embarking on a new chapter in my life; I’m not sure what to expect.  
 
I have gone to school every fall for the past 51 years.  I went from kindergarten to elementary school to high school to college to teaching.  I’ve had 51 first days of school.  I’ve taught almost every age group of people, either in a formal school classroom setting, a Sunday school class, a 4-H group, an FFA function, or an adult gathering.  When I graduated from college, my plan was to teach for five years, and then move onto a dream job.  I guess I enjoyed teaching too much to move onto something else.  
 
There are many things that I will miss.  I’ll miss daily contact with so many people:  other teachers, custodians, office staff, administrators, support personnel and students.  I’ll miss the regular routine and organizational demands of teaching.  I’ll miss the ebb and flow of the school year: from fall, when spirits are high and learning is at a peak, to winter when days get shorter and enthusiasm wanes, to spring, when we all anticipate the coming of summer and a break from the regular routine.
 
I think, on occasion, I might even miss the class preparations.  It is so affirming for me to make plans for a class, get everything organized and set up, and then watch students experience the pure joy of learning.  I know that learning can take place at any time, in any situation, but often the best understanding comes about in a structured, organized setting with some background information and someone around who can answer the questions.

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