Okay…I am done…I am going to be perfectly honest with this posting. I do NOT like being retired. The first thing out of the mouth of one of my children, was: “You need to sell your house. You need to get an apartment. You need to downsize!” What a joke! I already live in a house smaller than an apartment! All of a sudden, I was suddenly on a downward spiral and ready to go to the funeral parlor for my casket size!
Seriously, I was a teacher for 36 Y E A R S…that is a L O N G time!!! I still break out with a cold sweat on Sunday nights, thinking I have to go and face those children who think I have all of the answers! I have to be prepared! My usual routine was that I would take Friday night off…and begin to plan my lessons on Saturday morning. I would see something that hour, and think, “Hmm, I can see how that would explain this point to the children…and I could use this…and I could use that…” And so my weekend would proceed. Anyone who thinks that teaching is a 9 to 5 job, is living an illusion! When you are a teacher, you are thinking non-stop of how you can make the lesson more interesting and what important idea they need to know and understand…and most importantly, how to allow them to be KIDS! Allow them to question! Allow them to BE!
All of these many years I tried to be”the guide on the side,” and not the “sage on the stage, ” (Thank you to Dr. Robert Pavlik for that great phrase! and TRUTH!) Truthfully, I did not begin my teaching career that way. I thought I had to have it all right…then as the years progressed, I began to see how important it was to LISTEN…to LISTEN to the children. What it was they needed to express. What it was that they wanted to know. What is was that they needed so that they could become fully themselves!
Regardless of the crazy testing demands of today (that is another posting I am ready to blast!), the MOST important thing we can do as teachers, is to allow the children to BE!
My God, WHY are we stuffing facts down their tiny throats? WHY are we comparing? WHY are we telling them, “You need to do better!” My God—let them be children and let them learn at their pace and allow them to lead you to help them discover who they are, and what they can contribute and why discovery is so vital to their own lives and to ours!
I guess retirement allows me to say things about teaching that in the last seven years of my teaching career were “verboten!” (forbidden).
Well, I will say more about retirement in the next post. I just had to get this off of my chest!