When I mentioned I planned to retire at the end of the school year, a lot of people said, “Congratulations! What are you going to do?”
“Not wake up at 5:15 in the morning,” was my usual reply. I did not understand the question. After all, I was an art teacher for thirty-six years. I just may do some art of my own for a change.
Since my last day of teaching about a month ago, I really don’t have that retirement feeling. My friends tell me that will happen when school begins in August. However, I do have the challenge of changing careers and becoming, finally, a full time (sort of) artist. Painting in my new studio space is like going to work, except I don’t have to be there at a particular time and stay a certain number of hours. I don’t even have to go every day. I get to work with great artists and learn from them. I do not have to put my supplies away at the end of the day and can wear jeans every day of my life if I choose.
But somehow, I cannot let go of the structure of my educational career. Each afternoon I write my goals for the next day. I like to schedule days for plein air painting with my friends and times for keeping up with the business side of things. I still pack a lunch to take to the studio, just as I did when I taught school. All the years in the classroom prepared me for this new phase.
Will I miss teaching? Yes and no. I will always be a teacher. I will miss many of the students and other professionals with whom I worked. I enjoy helping people reach their potential. But no, I will not miss waking up at 5:15 in the morning.