Monday night Carra Daniels, @Ledtolead, moderated #Teachlap chat over on Twitter. Her final question was; What will YOUR word be in 2016 to push you out of your comfort zone to try something at your school that may scare you a bit? My quick and perhaps flip response was retirement! However, the more I think about it, I think it's the perfect word.
Yes, I have one more year to teach to reach my 30 years of teaching in New York State, I have three additional years in MN but they don't count towards retirement. So, at the moment my plan is to retire in June 2017. I could go in January but I don't feel that would be best for the kids or even myself.
So why do I think retirement is the perfect word?
Well, first of all, the thought of not teaching after 33 years is a little scary and will put me out of my comfort zone-for a little bit. However, the last thing I want to be is one of those teachers that rest of the staff is hoping will retire as soon as possible because _____________ (fill in the blank with a variety of reasons, none exactly complimentary.) I'm sure everyone that's been around in education for awhile knows that teacher. I want to go out still learning and trying new things. Well, with retirement just around the corner, my time is running out so I need to begin my bucket list of things I want to do before I leave.
So here is my teaching bucket list for the last year and a half:
1. Skype-it takes me forever to work up the courage to make a phone call so the thought of Skyping with someone is simply terrifying to me!! So, that is number one on the list.
2. Get at least one teacher in my building on Twitter and using chats. This one is not so scary for me but it is for my coworkers.
3. Put in a conference proposal for NYSCATE one more time. I won a grant a few years ago for iPads and never did the payback of presenting. I hate presenting but I do it from time to time to just push myself out of my comfort zone.
4. Contact Kimberly Wright to set up something with students between our two districts.
5. Get a tech club set up. I've been approved but have been dragging my feet on getting it going mainly due to scheduling conflicts with my principal and fear-what will I do? What if the kids don't like it? and on on with the self doubt.
6. A coworker sent me a link to apply to become a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. I dismissed it because.... I'm retiring. But now I'm thinking why not? I'm sure I won't win but why not try?
Ok, the next three are not scary but things I want to continue.
7. Continue to strive to help my students develop a love for reading and improve their comprehension but never by filling in worksheets.
8. Continue to find ways to tie in technology with reading and share with coworkers.
9. Continue to read new books-both kid lit and professional and share with teachers. Ok, some teachers might fill in that blank above with I'm tired of her pushing books, apps, websites to us. :)
10. While I want to go out strong I also need to have a plan for what comes next! I know for certain it won't be subbing. But maybe tutoring and for sure I'll be spending more quality time with my camera. Perhaps doing photos of kids, maybe trying the craft show scene and selling things featuring my macro prints... no plans are set yet but certainly something to be rolling around in the back of my mind. Scary-yes. Exciting-you bet!
I've already had coworkers mention they want to have the same enthusiasm and positive attitude towards teaching when they get close to retirement as I do. That's definitely a compliment and a trait I don't want to lose. So I plan on focusing on the word retirement this year and not just as a way of counting the days.