Retirement: Five Surprises During My Final Week of Teaching
Today begins the final week of my 36-year career as a teacher. The time has finally arrived. There is something unreal about it. In a few days, I will walk out of this classroom, shut the door, and never return.
I will probably take one last look at the classroom as I exit. My desk drawers will be mostly empty, save a few leftover dry-erase markers, a few pens and pencils, and some office supplies. The bulletin boards will be bare, as will the classroom walls where posters once hung. The desks will be stacked so the people who clean the classrooms during the summer will have an easier time of it, and all the textbooks will be boxed.
When I close the door, there will be an echo of finality.
I will turn in my keys to the secretary in the office, say my final goodbyes, and walk out of the school for the last time. I will get into my car, put the bag with my personal items on the passenger seat, and begin my drive home.
My career will be over. I will no longer be a teacher.
I will be extra diligent as I begin my drive home. The part of the city I have to drive through includes some of the most violent areas of the city. Shootings, carjackings, and robberies are daily occurrences here. It is not unusual to see car parts lying on the side of the road or large pieces of bark missing from trees where someone crashed after driving at insane speeds.
It is more likely that a person driving in this part of town has a gun than a driver's license or insurance. The last thing I want is to be a story in tomorrow’s newspaper. I will drive cautiously and anticipate anything that might cut my retirement short, if you get my drift. My only goal will be to get home safely.
The road leading to retirement
Throughout my career, I always wondered what it would be like when I was ready to retire. In the early days of my career, I wondered if I would stay in teaching. In the middle of my career, I gave…