So what is the good, bad, and ugly regarding retirement? For me, it's a good time to get out. My teaching assignment for quite a long time has been mostly in driver education, and I just don't want to do it anymore. But it's also a good time to be in teaching; educational technology is breathing new life into schools, students, and teachers. That's why I want to stay involved; it's an exciting time!
The bad aspect of retiring is, of course, the uncertainty about the future. I've been in school my whole life! What will the "real world" be like? But believe me, my colleagues who are retired don't regret it at all. In some ways, it's just a bad time to be teaching in Illinois. The retirement system is underfunded and the state government is broke. The end of the upcoming school year marks the first time I am eligible for retirement, so I'm out!
And the ugly? I'm afraid that's going to be me! I don't eat well or exercise NOW. What kind of hideous creature will I become? While I may become ugly, I certainly won't say that teaching today is ugly. But I always hearken back to the good old days when I was young, full of energy, coaching, advising the newspaper, doing the announcing at homecoming activities, dressing up in silly costumes, organizing pep rallies, playing practical jokes on my co-workers...school just isn't the same for me anymore. It's time.
I'm already transitioning to my new career. I've taught a few technology courses over the last several years, presented at conferences, and developed this website. I've become professionally active on social media to make contacts. I discovered a new PD activity - the unconference - in the form of edcamps. Edcamps are free professional development activities in which the topics are determined after the attendees arrive. Teachers, you should try one! Check out http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/ to find an edcamp near you. You'll probably have to give up a Saturday, but the time spent is very worthwhile. You can even volunteer to present a topic!
And so to all of you with whom I've crossed paths in the past 33 years: I'm glad you got to see me!