Sunday, March 10, 2019

SOL 19 Slice #10 Stay or go?

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOL19)
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for the month of March 2019.

A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

Every year at this time of year, I have to sign an 'intent to return' form for my school - do I plan to return to teaching? Last week, this little piece of paper was back in my hands, bringing into real conversation the subject that has been stewing in the back of my mind...

Am I ready to retire from teaching preschool?

How does one decide when is the right time to retire?

I am fast approaching the age where this is what one does. Retire, that is. I am surrounded by people who are doing so. 

My husband is nearly eight years older than me, and he has been retired for three years. Because of his retirement, my own work week is so much easier - he takes care of the household now. I come home to dinner already cooked and laundry washed and folded; he often drives me to the metro in the morning and picks me up in the afternoon. We joke that I have a "boy toy." It is, truly, pretty awesome. He is so relaxed in retirement, unlike his many years in government and private industry. I think we have a pretty good balance these days.

(The sweetest part of his being retired while I am a teacher is summer - being able to be with each other around the clock, for weeks on end. This is delightful! We make great use of every long weekend, every school break. We have traveled, hiked, and played.)

He would love me to be retired.
He fears being "old and in frail health" when I do decide to retire...that said, the man is the picture of great health! I don't believe he's going to fall apart.

Yet, I realize I am taking a bit of a risk. Will I look back with regret that I taught so long, rather than spending more time with him?

A couple of my very close friends are retiring this year - both feel as if they have been run into the ground by their work, and their health demands that they stop now. 

This is not my truth. Yet, I feel some sort of vague pressure from it.

I love what I do, I love teaching preschoolers! I love how they make me laugh, how they make me move, and how they make me think. I love my colleagues - planning, collaborating, and bantering together. I love the variety of my day, and the different skill sets I use. It is never dull. I feel alive and purposeful.

I am terrified of retirement. 
It feels like a big empty hole, a step into total unknown.
Will it feel less so when I am ready?
Is this just a sign that I am not ready?

I signed the form - Yes, I will come back. Let's talk about making some modifications to my current job, so that I might have a little more flexibility.


Why can't teaching be a three or four day a week job?
Why does it have to be so all or nothing?

I am not yet ready to retire.


  1. As you know, I am retiring at the end of the year, but I worry about life w/out teens. I love working w/ them, but I am tired. I haven’t reached the end of my proverbial rope, but I do t want to get to a point I hate my job. I’ll look for ways to make a contribution.

    My husband is eleven years older than I am, and he too picks up the slack around the house. It is glorious.

    I think the difficult thing about leaving teaching is the sense of unfinished business.

    1. I wish you were my next-door neighbor and we could discuss this over a cup of tea! I completely relate to everything you wrote - "I don't want to get to a point I hate my job," and, yes, "the sense of unfinished business." What tipped the scale for you? What made you say yes to retirement? I know you will continue to make extraordinary contribution. You will not be idle!

  2. The contemplation and decision to retire is not a small one, as I have observed countless times in my educational career. It seems to me as you have done your due diligence for this year. Congratulations on your decision! And thank you for your work with our youngest learners!

    1. Thank you! It is a real that I will continue for at least one more year ;-) Thanks for commenting!

  3. I can retire next year, though I won't make my 30 years for 7 more. I am starting to think about whether I want to teach into my 60s. I am not ready to go yet, just starting to think about it. The kids are the best part of the job!

    1. That's me - starting to think about whether I want to teach into my 60s. Still on the fence. Wish it wasn't a five day a week commitment! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love the contemplative honest tone of your writing here. It's a huge decision. You are wise to think it through. Good luck.

  5. I wonder if I will be able to retire when it is time. My husband is 9 years older than me so thanks for giving me something to look forward to. I wonder if he will learn to cook.

    1. Circumstances alter plans! My husband didn't do much cooking for many years, and is loving the time and opportunity now. It is a fun season in our lives!

  6. Serendipitous. My post was on this very topic and so your post, as well as the comments just fill me up. I have 2 years, after this one, but this has been such a huge part of who I am. I don't think I'm finished and yet, I'm getting weary. Thanks for your words.