Thoughts on Retirement

[For those who don’t know, I retired as a teacher 18 months ago.]

I’m not sorry I retired. I don’t miss the hassle: the pressure, the endless changes to curriculum and testing, the exhaustion, the headaches, the constant negative criticism from the press, the petty impositions; the marking (oh boy, how I don’t miss the marking), the stroppy parents (only some of the parents), unblocking toilets and clearing up sick (no, it wasn’t just the site manager and the support staff), playground disputes….. and did I mention how I don’t miss marking?

(I do miss teaching, when it was going well. It was a great feeling to know you’d made a difference.)

I DO miss…… the people. Of course the children….. But I particularly miss my colleagues, young and old, admin staff, site staff, support staff and of course teachers. They are a peculiar breed…. almost a club. If you haven’t spent time in a staffroom, you might not get it. My favourite parts of my day were spent sitting (yes, with coffee and cake, of course) and just…. chatting.

I miss it even more than I thought I would, and I’m not being disloyal to Mrs O. by saying that, because oddly, it affects both of us: no longer can I return and say: “You’ll never guess what happened today”. I no longer have such a range of experiences and relationships to  enrich our lives. From where I am now, I realise that the major part of my social life was at work.

Although I find it hard to articulate, there is also now a lack of a central direction in my life. When I retired, I was often asked what my plans were. I didn’t have any. I still don’t. However, I feel that it might be time to make some.

Sorry, this is almost soul-searching. Did I mention I don’t miss marking?

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