Retired...my hubby told me the other day, after I had yet another night filled with disturbing dreams, that he wanted me to not worry about returning to work and to consider myself retired. I stopped substitute teaching in the Spring of 2015 after a very stressful encounter with a student that left me shaken to my core and that threw me into a downward spiral healthwise. I realized, in that moment, that the job that I once loved and looked forward to each day had become more and more difficult due to changes in society where people were not held accountable for their own actions and many parents no longer taught their children self discipline and responsibility or even cared about how they were harming their children and setting them up for failure by not teaching them to respect others and that it was all about them.
As much as I love teaching and seeing the "light go on" when a child realizes that they have learned something new and feels that wonderful sense of accomplishment, I just cannot deal with not only the apathy that I see in so many kids and their parents, but the disruptive behavior that makes learning and teaching nearly impossible at times. It also upsets me that we have the "No Child Left Behind" mandate that forces teachers to cover tons of information and do so much testing that it leaves little time for students to actually absorb and master the information and skills needed before they move onto the next building block of knowledge. Students all learn at different rates and for those student who struggle to learn new materials, and who need a bit more time and practice on new skills, this is a nightmare for them and leaves them feeling frustrated and defeated. It honestly breaks my heart.
I miss teaching. I miss the many wonderful kids that I have come to love over the years. I miss the hugs, smiles and laughter that I have shared with so many. I miss the dedicated and wonderful teachers and para pros, along with many of the additional support staff at the school. But I don't miss the feeling of frustration when kids just don't care. I don't miss the ones who disrupt the classroom over and over again, with absolutely no fear of the consequences for their actions because they know their parents either won't care or will come unglued on the teacher or the principal for daring to hold Junior accountable for his actions. I don't miss the huge meltdowns of a child who refuses to follow directions because she is not made to follow directions at home. Granted, there are some children who honestly have behavioral issues that also have wonderful and caring parents that are working with their children to help them learn to follow directions and handle their frustration in a healthier way, and I commend those parents for the hard work, time and love that they invest in their child. Those are not the children or parents that I am referring to by any stretch of the imagination.
So I am now, in the words of my sweet hubby, retired. I have not completely shut the door on returning to subbing at some point, but for now, I will happily focus my time and energy on my home and my family. This is not to say that I will no longer be doing some teaching and creating learning materials for some very wonderful students. I am going to be helping my DIL Heather with the homeschooling of my grandboys. :) I can't think of a better way to use all those years of experience of teaching in the public schools, tutoring and also homeschooling my own sons. :) I can help as my health and energy allow and not be stressed out, which leads to "crashes" due to my CFS. All in all, this is a very positive thing for me and it is what is the most beneficial to our family.