Happiness is a fresh start. I am in the midst of a new beginning or as others see it the end or retirement from my teaching career. After many years in the classroom, department head and administrative roles, I have handed in my resignation. So I guess I am now retired from public education.
I made a promise to my father years ago, that I would not work so long that I would miss out on the fun of retirement. Sadly my father was not given that opportunity. He was forced to retire early after being diagnosed with Lewy Body's disorder. It is a mix of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. He was 55. Luckily my dad made the most of his years afterwards but my parents were not able to do the things they planned in retirement. Their one day when I retire plan never came. My mom was forced to do the travelling alone and they weren't able to move to BC to retire.
I had always planned to leave teaching early but it became a hard decision as I was diagnosed in June with Uterine Cancer. Oh no, maybe I waited too long and now I will miss out like my dad did. It was a summer full of unknowns, adventures and changes. I started the summer knowing I had cancer and I would need to have treatment. But it was unknown what would be my medical adventure. So my summer was very life changing and allowed or forced me to do a lot of self reflection. I was not able to do my normal activities so I had a bunch of time hanging out with my thoughts and cat.
I am now living by some new views (or trying to):
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Live each day to the fullest.
Enjoy the gifts (good or bad) that life gives you.
Yes, I know this all sounds cliché but it is true. I have learnt the hard way that life goes on with or without you. Schools will continue. Classes always happen. Students will grow and learn. You see life moves on. Even though we are teachers, we are not the center of the universe. Life doesn't stop if we get sick. This is a hard concept to grasp for most of us but it is so true. Life moves on without us and we need to be healthy, happy and refreshed to give our students our best selves. We tend to forget that you cant care for others if you don't care for yourself first.
I have spent years explaining to fellow educators that its ok if you miss a topic or concept in your course. Tthe students will still learn, grow and be successful. Its not brain surgery. Our students wont die if we miss a topic. I believe this to my core about teaching but I did not transfer it to my teaching health. I still felt I needed to be there everyday or my classes would collapse.
Why didnt I make the connection?
I have learnt now there is a connection.
I am today cancer free and starting a new beginning. I am taking time to come out of my silo and share my gained knowledge. We will see how it goes or what that means. But again, I will always remember my dad telling me to have fun in life and not wait until... whatever...to live your dreams. And I plan to have a whale of a time trying to fulfill my dads request.