Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Finding a New Normal

 


Last Thursday was my last day of classes and Friday I cleaned out my desk. There was a socially distanced morning tea where my colleagues said lovely things about me and had me in tears. There were flowers and gifts.


Gifts included a beautiful freshwater pearl bracelet (I got to choose it), along with a gift card for an afternoon tea outing once restrictions lift. I plan to take my daughters and daughter-in-law. I handed in my keys at the end of the day and that, of all things, made it final. I walked out of the school and felt a little bit lost and uncertain. 


My students also said goodbye. They want to know who will teach them Spanish next year. I don't know, but I assured them it would all be just fine. One young woman has struggled with anxiety for a number of years. For awhile, a couple of years ago, she could only attend my class - French, at the time. This year she is doing better and has been in my Spanish class. A few days before classes finished she brought me a gift - these handmade soaps. When I thanked her, I told her that I would give her a hug if it wasn't for Covid, and she impulsively stepped forward and hugged me. 

Another student is from Korea. She came back after class and spoke to me. Just before saying goodbye, she straightened up, put her hands by her sides, and gave a deep bow. I was honoured.

It's the memory of these students that will stay with me. They come and go from course to course, and I've had the privilege of contributing to their growth in very small ways. They've taught me how to be firm and fair, and merciful and encouraging. I will miss them. I chat with former students in the grocery store and the gas station. Surely, being a teacher is the very best job. 


On Saturday night Tim and I went out for dinner. Only households are permitted to sit together in restaurants just now, so it was just us. We walked along the water before dinner and the lights reflected in the still blackness like stars.



On Sunday there was a Zoom party with our children. While I opened a card, Tim went out to the garage and brought in a big, beautifully wrapped box, with a smaller gift on top. It was a serger, something I had talked about getting once I retired and had more time to sew. It's a lovely machine, and I've been watching Youtube videos about it and reading the manual.


I feel very spoiled and celebrated. Then, on Monday, I spent the day writing report cards. Down to earth again. They are finished now, and it's time to think about new routines. I'm not in a rush, but I do want to feel productive. I look forward to more time with family once restrictions lift. Until then I'll content myself with walks outside and Skype calls. 


In the meantime, there are books to read, projects to sew, and flowers to enjoy. Today was my first real day of retirement - Tim wants to work for a few more years - so I was home alone. I went for a short walk, read, drank tea, and organized some things. Tell me, if you are retired, how did you find a new routine?


48 comments:

Louca por porcelana said...

Sweet celebration!Wonderful flowers and beautiful gift. My mother and my husband are teachers too. I agree,it is an adorable job. Enjoy your retirement,our job is only a little part of our life.Blessings!

Laurie said...

Oh my gosh you brought me to tears, what a personal lovely right of passage you shared with us today. One part of your life has come to an end and a new exciting beginning is before you. I can’t think of anything more exciting. You were truly loved by the sound of this post and I’m sure no one will forget you. A serger! Now that’s a wonderful retirement gift, very exciting! I wish you all the best in this new stage of life, it must feel so good .

Christine said...

My best advice re: retirement is to relax and enjoy the freedom in these first few days, however long you need that to be. I am sure a new routine will establish itself very quickly. It is easy to become too busy, with all the free time you suddenly have. I didn’t make any commitments for quite a while, until I was sure whatI really wanted to do. Also, I planned an exciting 3 day getaway for the first week of September when my friends were going back to school. It gave me something to look forward to and plan for.

Enjoy. It’s a wonderful stage of life. I love it.

Christine from Ontario

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I think you settle in to a routine but I have to say that every day is different for me. We hike just about every other day so on the days I stay home, I do extra chores around the house. And work on the photos I took on the hike...and blog! I'm so happy for you. It's wonderful to have time to do the things you want to do. You'll do great. I know I waste time but I also feel good at the end of the day about the things I've been able to accomplish. You've done so much good! How wonderful to have so many fine students over the years and to know you've made a difference in their lives! Well done!

Marie Smith said...

Oh, I am so happy for you! After a career with young people, finding out who you are now is an exciting time. Take you time to discover your joy, especially when this pandemic is over and go for it. I hope you have many happy years to enjoy life as a retired teacher.

This is my 16th year and it has been a wonderful adventure. I wish you the same.

Granny Marigold said...

Congratulations on your retirement. How lovely to read about the expressions of gratitude and love that students and fellow teachers showed. Whatever you decide to do with your time in the coming days and months I'm sure it will be pleasant.

Ruth Hiebert said...

Congratulations on your retirement . It takes a little time to realize that this is new normal. I have been retired for almost a year now, and am loving every minute of it.

kathy b said...

Congratulations!!!!!!

I awoke with wonder and joy from the very first day of retirement. I know that being a nurse is a special job, but I was ready for someone else to do it. I still have a few families that keep in touch.
How i developed a new routine? Well, I have to think on that. Since my husband had retired 10 months before , he had shown me the wonder of no schedule at all. We had always worked weekends, and so it was crazy to us to be off together and even on weekends. We went to family events. and everyone said, "Wait you are BOTH here at the same time!"
IT was no adjustment. I still thank my stars everyday.
Volunteering has been great during retirement. Good luck. Well Done. Well deserved

Coastal Ripples said...

Welcome to new beginnings, a lovely way to describe retirement. Special memories I agree about all those students you have taught. It sounds like you have lots to keep you busy in your home for now. Perhaps once we are back to normal you will volunteer for something. My historical National Trust for Jersey days gives me a bit of routine along with trips away ( one day!) and home pursuits. Days are normally happy an full. I’m sure yours will be too. Enjoy your new sewing machine :)B x

Elizabethd said...

Teaching is indeed the best job, Lorrie, and you have obviously excelled and made your students feel valued. From now on it's a 'new life', inasmuch as anything can be at the moment.
When I retired we simply went to our house in France and spent a Summer exploring places that we hadnt been to before . I hope you will have the joy of doing different things during your retirement.

mamasmercantile said...

What a wonderful celebration, blessed with so many tributes to your hard work and commitment over the years. Now is the time to take things easy and relax into a new routine. Take your time and you will find that it will evolve naturally. Congratulations.

Linda said...

Congratulations on your retirement Lorrie. A bitter sweet day for sure. Teaching touches so many lives and even though it has its bad moments they are outweighed by all the good ones. When I retired I had knee surgery, so had lots to fill my days. Now after almost 10 years I wonder how I had the time to teach. Enjoy the hew serger.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

Congrats on your retirement! I retired early. I was 45 years old. We moved from Naples, Florida (where I am now) to Tennessee and then NC. MY husband still worked. I started to mosaic and had a successful mosaic business with an online shop for several years that kept me happy and busy. Now my husband is retired and we are back in Naples Florida. We have spent the last 4 months trying to get our new home in shape. I think we will have everything done by the end of this month. Then I plan on getting back to painting, walks on the beach, having lunch with my sisters once covid is gone.

Deanna Rabe said...

You’ll find your way. For now enjoy the freedom! I know you’ll be making wonderful things with your serger, and being free to zoom with your kids and grands!

Gina said...

Dear Lorrie,
It is obvious that you were a much loved teacher. Congratulations! My transition was very easy and it was in steps. After working 18 years for a company I opened my own business. I remember the first day thinking how wonderful it was that I could call my own hours. I could go to the office or not.

ellen b. said...

Congratulations. What sweet reflections of the appreciated teacher you were/are. I don't doubt that your days will still be filled with learning and teaching and enjoying small and big things. Enjoy your serger!

Powell River Books said...

Congrats on your retirement. I retired in 2005 after 34 years of teaching, being a principal and several positions in the central office. Of all the positions my favourite was being a classroom teacher in a kindergarten/first grade combination class. I often wonder what happened too my former students. I remember a few names like Kathy, who was shunned by her peers because she was poor and didn't always come to school smelling clean. I adopted her family at Christmas. It must have been hard for the single mother to cope with a teen and a child in kindergarten. - Margy

riitta k said...

Congratulations on your retirement! You had the best party possible in this situation. Take yor time. Understandably it feels a bit strange at the beginning. I have been retired for many years and love to be the boss of my own time. Some days more ’productive’ than others, no hurry anywhere. Walking, reading & gardening are important; at the moment I do miss meeting children and friends, but nothing to do but wait. Enjoy!

Mary said...

I'm so choked up reading this Lorrie - and when I got to the Korean student tears fell - maybe because I'm reading Min Jin Lee's PACHINKO an "extraordinary epic" - I think you'd love it!

You will be missed so much by both students and co-workers, however you deserve to now have a happy retirement. You will find yourself very busy - the serger will be useful knowing how lovely your sewing projects are.

So my dear friend, welcome to retirement land - stay well and safe.
(Tim, please hug your sweet lady for us!)
Love and CONGRATULATIONS from both Bob and myself XX

Mary -

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Lorrie! It sounds like you were celebrated as you should be! I know this will be a time of "re-adjustment" but I am praying that you find many wonderful new things to bless your days. I now that your students will miss you, and you them. What a beautiful thing you have done, given your all to bless your students with the gift of learning. xo Lidy

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Lorrie!

I remember when I retired from being a registered nurse I felt a little lost at first and missed my co-workers and work routine, and even felt like a lost a bit of my identity. It took a while to realize I was more than just a nurse as it had taken up so much of my life! Slowly I relaxed and found out that all the things I dreamed of doing instead of working were now fully available to me. My husband was still working and I was able to go on business trips with him and while he went to work I went exploring new places. I'm sure you will find many new activities to enjoy now that you have free time. Enjoy life! Enjoy your new serger and spending more time with your beautiful grandchildren!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Hello, Lorrie. Retirements are especially happy and sad at the same time. I spent 32 years in a public school district in Virginia. I was not a teacher but was in the office of middle schools for 29 years, and then my last 4 years I was the administrative coordinator to the superintendent of the Human Resources division. I do understand about missing the children, although I was not a teacher I was with them every day for so many years and came to know many of them. Although, our school had an enrollment of 2500. But, I especially missed the teachers, I dearly love teachers for many reasons.
When my husband (also a teacher) and I retired we left Va. and returned to W.Va. as we are both only children and our moms were in need of some assistance. The blessing for me with retirement and filling my days was that I had many interests, as you appear to have as well. You will thoroughly enjoy yourself and your family once COVID disappears. I know you will miss your students and co-workers, but you will see them from time-to-time. Spring will arrive soon and will most likely find you with many ideas and enjoying your new freedom. Congratulations, you have worked long and hard for this special time. Enjoy and stay well!

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Lorrie,

We never use the word retired. Much more interesting we feel, but not particularly accurate, is our response to anyone who enquires is that " we do not work".

We loved teaching but the ability to fill the blank page of the day with what one wishes and when one wants is a wonderful luxury and joy. Not to be constrained by lesson bells and termly calendars is liberating.

We knew that we would miss the students and so we immediately looked into ways in which we could maintain contact with young people. We volunteer as mentors, supporting students in making applications to study abroad and now have a string of successes behind us and a new set of hopefuls coming through.

Teaching equips one with a tremendous range os transferable skills. Opportunities will present themselves. Be open to them and you will wonder how you ever had time to go to school.

Margie said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Lorrie!!!

So glad to see that your colleagues and students gave you a lovely send-off, covid-style. The retirees that I know have told me that their retirement life is busier than their working life, but now they're busy with stuff that they actually enjoy!

Jeannine said...

Many congratulations! I'm not a teacher, but I do work for a school district - program assistant in the district offices. One of my co-workers just retired - Friday last week was her last day. She feels such a lifting of stress and is very happy to be retired and able to enjoy her grandchildren and arrange her life to her liking. I anxiously await the day I can retire, but it will be one or two more school years before that will happen. I'm interested in the comments relaying how various others have found their first days, weeks, and months of retirement.

Angie said...

Lorrie - congratulations on your retirement! I am happy for you that you were honored by your colleagues and your students. I remember my last day, and how I felt such freedom as I drove out of the parking lot. As for new routines, I had to reflect a little. As others have said, I took my time before jumping into too many volunteer activities, but now it makes up a significant portion of my time. For me, it came down to pondering what is important to me, and how I might be able to use my skills to make a contribution in those areas. The journey is as important as the outcome, so enjoy it!

Jenn Jilks said...

Congratulations! I just applied for CPP! Where does the time go:

ann said...

Congratulations--again. Leaving a job can be such a rough decision. As teachers we love our students and we love sharing knowledge and watching students achieve and learn. For some students, teachers are the only consent in their lives and we hate leaving them. How did I find a new normal? Actually, I left teaching because I just couldn't do it anymore. I wasn't feeling well, now that I look back. I took a year and then in fall 2015 my friend who retired when I did and I were asked to go back for a semester to teach two classes each of freshmen comp. I was excited to return on a more limited basis and loved it. Loved the students; loved it all, but I realized that I didn't want to do it anymore. I had proven to myself that I could still do it, but I just didn't have the passion for it. Maybe it was the grading of all the essays or some students' bad attitudes, or the department controversies over syllabi. You know, we are on 5 acres--it's a lot of work, so I kept busy gardening. And I sew. And I joined Weight Watchers and DAR and now I build dollhouses and make miniatures and that keeps me very well entertained. You have a wonderful zest for all things and you will miss your job, especially the students and some of your colleagues, but you find fun, purposeful things to do with your time and we will enjoy reading about your discoveries here. Enjoy, Lorrie.

Happy@Home said...

Congratulations on your retirement, Lorrie. It was a pleasure to read about the celebrations both at school and at home. I imagine it is a very rewarding feeling to retire from a profession where you were able to positively influence so many young lives. The beautiful bracelet will be a lovely reminder.
You seem to excel at finding a variety of interesting things to do in your spare time. I have no doubt you will keep your days filled in retirement too. Wishing you all the best.

Dewena said...

This must be such an exciting stage in your life, congratulations! Your students' stories were heartwarming and I know that your influence will be felt by them in their future. I can tell that your family is so happy for your retirement and so proud of what you've accomplished. New routines to establish will be so much fun for you. You already accomplish so much in your time at home while working, that the sky is the limit for what you'll do now. I hope that more writing will be part of what you do more of.

After working for four years as a stenographer in a religious publishing house here in Nashville and passing my test to next be an editorial assistant, we decided it was time to start a family instead. Decades followed where I worked from home answering the phone, setting appointments, dealing with customers of our roofing and remodeling family business, doing the accounting and tax work. When we turned our business over to one of our sons in 2016 it was such a relief not to have to do any of that anymore. I still don't like to talk on the telephone now! Just think, Lorrie, I know you'll miss your students but no more paperwork!

I am so impressed that you are able to teach both Spanish and French! I had two years of Latin and two of Spanish but wish so much that I had continued on with it and other languages when I was young. I'm watching a series on Netflix now called Velvet about a fashion industry in Madrid and love seeing how much of it I can understand without reading the subtitles--not much! I wish the U.S. started children off as young learning other languages as Europe and others do. I'll look forward to seeing all that you're up to now that you have more time available!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Many Good Wishes on your retirement!
There is so many things to look forward to. I look forward to reading about your retirement life adventures,

Betty from Comox said...

Congratulations Lorrie. Your students saying goodbye brought me to tears. You have had many rich experiences over the years and you have made a difference in so many students lives.
When these lockdowns are behind us, perhaps we can meet for tea at Butchart gardens.
Enjoy your retirement Lorrie!

Patricia said...

What a special post Lorrie. Retirement is one of life's big moments, and your describe your special day beautifully. What sweet children, who obviously loved their teacher. I did things in reverse order due to life's strange meanderings - I retired from working at age 49 and went to University, studying what interested me rather than aiming for a job. We travelled a lot during the years I spent making the most of my Arts degree after which I became a volunteer guide at our State Art Gallery. Best job I ever had, and I am still loving every moment :) PS I love to sew too.

Vee said...

Delightful gifts all around from bouquets to sergers. I would say the love and respect shown are the best gifts of all and speak to your own love and respect for your students. This is a uniquely special post and I am glad that you wrote it. You will find beautiful ways to fill your days. Who knows where The Lord will lead...not too far if Tim continues to work a few more years. ☺️

Kit said...

What a beautiful celebration! I think you will love retirement once some time has passed. I missed my school and students for awhile but I loved the new freedom I had. I quickly started sleeping in...lol I lingered over my coffee each day and picked a few projects and found I fell in love with gardening and decorating all over again. Take care and Happy Retirement! Kit

gretchenjoanna said...

Congratulations, Lorrie!

I'm not a very "routine" person, and homeschooling for 25 years was my work -- that was blessedly open to a loose schedule, ever changing... So my life didn't change a lot when I "retired." I loved having more time to read and write and garden, and I thought I would leisurely clear out and sort out all the homeschool "stuff."

Then a few years later my husband retired and my retirement ended! At this point my only hope is resting in the grave. ;-)

Anneliese said...

Awe.... I had tears threatening to come as I read this. Such a bitter-sweet farewell to this part of your life. I'm sure that you are a good teacher and that you will be missed, but that is a good way to go. May God bless you and continue to make you a blessing in your new routines.

Cheryl said...

Lorrie, happy congratulations to you as you move into this next season! You have made such an investment in the lives of your students and I'm sure you'll miss that aspect of teaching.

I am not the best one to offer retirement advice. My "retirement" after 28 years of homeschooling has been challenging. Worldwide pandemic, Ron working from home, and my struggle with time management . . . all contribute to the difficulty of finding a new normal. (The "normal" changes all of the time!) But there is joy in spite of the challenges!

handmade by amalia said...

The best of luck to you, dear Lorrie, in this new chapter. I'm sure you'll find your new routine in no time, exciting adventures await.
Amalia
xo

Friko said...

It will not be long before you find yourself wondering how you managed to fit work into your busy schedule. Retirement can be a very busy time. Busyness will find you, no need to rush around to find it.

Friko said...

Me again, sorry, I forgot to wish you all the best for this new chapter in your life.

Flowermouse Design ❀ Lone said...

Congratulations on your retirement. It’s such a strange new life. And also a time to do things you didn’t have time to. Thankfully you are so creative. And see beauty everywhere. I believe you will enjoy it. And bad days is also a part of life. No matter in what situation we are. I wish you blessed and good days❤️🎉

Jen Kershner said...

Congratulations! What a lovely new chapter waiting for you.

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

Awwww Lorrie, congratulations!!! You certainly deserve some time to relax and enjoy new things. The serger sounds like a fabulous gift!! I loved reading about the student that threw aside caution and hugged you anyway. That was so worth it for both of you. I know you’ll miss your students, but you’ll love being at home to do whatever you wish. I see lots of sewing, quitting, baking and gardening in your future.

Denise at Forest Manor said...

Hi Lorrie,

What a touching post!! Your teacher tea sounds so nice, and the flowers and pearls are beautiful! I kind of have a thing for pearls, myself. ;) My niece teaches first grade, and she loves her students! Teaching during the pandemic last year was definitely challenging, but I don't think she would want to do anything else. It sounds like you made a lasting impression (a very positive one) on your students, and what a wonderful way to have spent your working years. I'm so very excited for you, my dear blogging friend!! You have much to look forward to, and I think a person with a mind for learning and lots of hobbies does so much better after retiring. You will be so busy, you'll wonder how you ever found time to work. :) Are the purple/blue flowers hyacinths? I LOVE that candle with the fleur de lis pattern in your last picture!! Wishing you many blessings, Lorrie.

Hugs,

Denise

Kim said...

Congratulations! It's a bittersweet moment, I'm sure. Children are wonderful and there are those ones you'll never forget. That bow is something etched in your brain, I'm sure. Enjoy the adventure ahead...and I read you walk post and loved your quote about how nature reasserts itself if left alone.

Marilyn Miller said...

Congratulations and Enjoy retirement. It does take awhile to adjust, at least I thought so.
What lovely last day experiences and memories.

Chy said...

Congratulations on your retirement. Such beautiful gifts from your colleagues, your students and your family. We have about 7 years to go, unless we retire early. Enjoy your new life!

X Chy

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