This is the first of five columns featuring retired educators who have taken on the challenges of different careers, businesses or ventures. We trust that their experiences as they took steps towards fields of endeavour beyond that of the educational sector will provide insight and encouragement to you, the reader.
A series of questions was put to several retired educators. Ten of the respondents were chosen as the subject of these columns because of their varied educational backgrounds and current occupations. They will reveal how the skills that were used as professionals in the field of education have helped or hindered their “retirement” plans. Where did they get their ideas? Were they worried, and if so, why? What tips do they have for others who want to venture in new directions after retirement? What preparations did they make? These and other questions will be addressed within the next issues of Canadian Teacher Magazine.
In this issue you will be introduced to our ten survey responders and find out what they did when they were employed in the educational system and what they are doing now.
Please meet Roger, Judy, Gordon, Brent, Geraldine, Barbara, Vic, Jean, Bala and Carol. Their retirements range in length from 3 to 14 years.
In what type of Pursuit/Business Venture are you now engaged?
- Bed and Breakfast owner/operator.
- I had received my teacher training in art at the University of B.C. in the 70s (double major – painting and printmaking), but when I began my teaching career in a secondary school art classroom, I found the experience less creative than when teaching younger students. I, therefore, spent the majority of my teaching career working with pre-adolescents. Over the years, I found that teaching was really “problem solving,” and the problem of how to encourage risk-taking and thoughtful, creative expression became one of my professional goals. During the last few years of my career I took leave one day a week and began the diploma course in Interior Design being offered at our local college. When I retired from teaching I finished the required diploma course work and established my design company, All Facets of Design. I believe that I chose this particular pursuit because I felt that I had not fulfilled a “piece of me.”
- Since retiring I have worked in the area of teacher training, both pre-service and in-service. I have worked as a volunteer in teacher training colleges in Zambia and Ghana and as a volunteer mentor to local teachers in a private school in Tanzania. The Tanzanian school selects the brightest students from the poorest families in the community and provides them with a free, quality education. In each position held, the expectation was that, as a Westerner, I could introduce new instructional practices, particularly those which had the pupils more actively participate in their learning activities and which expected the pupils to think about, evaluate, reflect on, or apply the knowledge acquired.
- Leisure Activities – sailing instructor.
- Field Supervision of student teachers for Vancouver Island University; computer sales at local electronic store; woodturning.
- Teaching Taoist Tai Chi at the Continuing Level and supervising trainees at the Beginner Level. This is on a volunteer basis—as all our instruction is.
- Personal Coach (life coaching).
- Consulting, Mental Health Works Trainer—provide training to businesses/organizations/unions, e.g., how to talk to people with a mental illness, what to do in the workplace.
- I write and give talks on nutrition topics (e.g., Health and Wealth) to business groups (Insurance and Investment companies) and their clients.
- I have a business which offers all aspects of yard and garden maintenance, for private and public clients.
What was your job in the world of education?
- Teacher – Intermediate (grades 4 – 7)
- Global education and gifted education specialist, art specialist, elementary generalist, learning assistance generalist for grades 3 – 7; our District Teachers’ Association professional development chairperson for four years, and executive member for six years
- During thirty-three years in public education, I have worked mainly in Elementary Schools but did spend five years in a Junior Secondary School at the beginning of my career. I worked as a classroom teacher, supervisor in special education, psychometrist and school administrator.
- Elementary School Principal
- College Instructor – Dental Hygiene program
- Physical Education Teacher – high school
- Administrator – school, district and ministry levels
- University Professor – chemistry
- Grade 4/5 Teacher and School Librarian
Be it from the classroom or gym, the administration office or laboratory, these educators have taken paths in many different directions. Not only have they been inspired or intrigued by another activity or topic, but they’ve been motivated enough to do something about it. As a result, they have opened up whole new worlds for themselves. How they came to do it is what we’ll learn next time when we ask them why they chose those particular pursuits, whether or not they’d been thinking about it for a while, and what they did while still at work in education to prepare for the new worlds they were about to enter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carol Baird-Krul and Enise Olding
Carol and Enise are the creators of a series of pre-retirement and post-retirement planning workshops: Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course©, Recently Retired: Charting a New Course© and Ideas … Enhanced and Advanced©, and authors of Transition to Retirement: The Uncharted Course. Previous articles on retirement may be viewed in back issues at www.CanadianTeacherMagazine.com.
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s September 2009 issue.