Years ago I wrote a piece called "50 Ways to Leave your Classroom." In my mind it would be sung to the tune of Paul Simon's "50 ways to leave your lover."
You just slip out the back, Zack.
Stop being a slave, Dave.
You can set yourself loose, Bruce.
There won't be another quiz, Liz
When you set yourself free.
Maybe it wasn't all that funny. Unless you were a teacher trying to get out. Certainly the ATA News didn't care for it and they are basically the only people who have ever paid me for anything I've ever written.
And now I am getting close to that point myself. Getting close to finding my own way to leave. Granted, my "classroom" is a virtual place, but it is real to me.
|On his bike in Shanghai, 1984|
My husband will retire this June. He says he might just get on his bike and start riding. He's wanted to do that for years.
Some of our friends left and then came back.
Others have found alternate careers.
My father-in-law built an extension to the family cottage, researched family history, organized the family photos, and produced books of his wife's poetry.
Our friend Dan is building a house.
My parents and my aunt became obsessive volunteers. Arts and culture, local history, advocating for a seniors complex, organizing events, gardening and writing newspaper columns.
|Walter and Gerry|
My former teachers Walter Schoen and Gerry Clare became archivists and developed an incredible collection of images and memories at the South Peace Archives.
My great aunts, both teachers, were inspirational in retirement. Well into their 80s they explored the backwoods, bought wilderness land, pursued their artistic interests in painting, pottery and photography, and taught urbanites how to ride horseback. In fact Aunt Betty got her nose broken after being bucked off a horse she was trying to train when she was in her 90s.
What do you do when you stop teaching?
What do you do when the world lies before you and you can do anything?
What happens when you set yourself free?