I just retired from teaching after twenty-six years, twenty-five of which were special ed. Everyone says it will not really hit me until fall when school starts, but I know I do not need to spend part of my summer planning for fall, and I like that idea.
I can say that you know when it is time to retire. My heart was no longer in it. Being out last fall recuperating from my heart surgery was part of what lead to the decision to retire. I did not miss school while I was out and I did not really want to go back to all the stress and the problem students. Not all of them were difficult, but one bad apple can certainly ruin a class period. This spring I got a new student and one kids in the class said to me that he was really ruining the class. He also said class was much nicer when the new kid was not there. Sad to say I had to agree with him.
What really made up my mind was all the paperwork and meetings that special ed teachers have to deal with on top of teaching. You work the same contract as the regular ed teachers, but with longer hours due to meetings before and after school and all the additional paperwork on top of lesson planning and grading. It was a lot of extra work and tons of extra stress. Stress I did not need.
I am looking forward to relaxing, sleeping in when I want, being able to sew for hours, read, and go out to lunch with friends anytime. I do plan to sub on occasion, but I can decide if and when I want to accept a job. The best part according to a friend who is retired is there is no homework. You get to go in and work with the kids and then go home and relax.
I told my husband I am going to plan a lunch date with another retired teacher I know for the first official day of school, just because I can. I am thinking that it will be fun, knowing I do not have to go to work that day. I am sure I will miss the kids and that is why I plan to sub some. I loved teaching, but not all the added stress of being a special ed teacher.
Since I retired two years ago I have enjoyed subbing and spending time working with the kids, without the headaches of meetings, and the endless paper work. I enjoy going to lunch with my friends who are retired or work in professions other than teaching anytime I want. I also enjoy the extra time I have to quilt, read, journal, and just relax. It is also nice to be able to travel anytime. I have been to Ireland, and to visit family and watch my son graduate from basic training and AIT. I have a trip planned in the fall to visit family and friends and I like knowing that I have that option. Subbing is fun and gives me some extra money, but knowing that I have the flexibility to say no and to take time for me makes it all very worthwhile. If you are considering retiring and can afford to, I highly recommend it.
If you are interested check out my quilting blog all the quilting and sewing projects I have been working on the past two years. I would never have gotten them all done if I was working full time and you can see how many unfinished things I have from back when I was working that I am still trying to get caught up on.