As I see the runway steadily approaching and becoming clearer in the distance, I find myself contemplating the landing less and less. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked, “So how are you feeling about your retirement?” or something similar. This is a very difficult question and one, truthfully, that bears a variety of answers.
Over a Lifetime
On the surface, I won’t miss (I think) the mundane, day to day jobs that are both necessary and cheerless. Every “job” has them and they must be done but they are not really part of the challenging and highly rewarding mission called “teaching.”
I’ve shared with some that it will be strange, (possibly difficult) to drive past the ACSS campus and not pull in to begin a day of constant interaction with students. It will be very strange when, in several years, the majority of people in the building will have no memory of me.
I’ve worked at ACS for most of my life. I was a student here. Most of my memories are connected to this place. When I was younger and knew everything, I was sometimes dismayed that older teachers stayed as long as they did. Why didn’t they make room for newer, more current (less old) teachers? I think I understand why some of them didn’t seem to want to leave.
Agents of Change
The face of education is changing. This is good, I think. I smile or sometimes shudder a little when I consider some of the practices that were common in classrooms when I started teaching.
I think the biggest difference between now and then (sounding old now) is the increased time that we spend questioning our methods. Why do we do what we do? Does it work?
Is there a better way?
Parents can take much comfort in this constant review, revision and exploration.
The search for better ways to facilitate student learning will result in students being agents of change in a world that increasingly needs the efforts of creative, collaborative and loving Christ-followers.
Uncluttering my life
There are some things that I would like to pursue. I am still passionate about most things relating to education. There are some volunteer opportunities which may allow me to tap into this passion. I have some personal interests that I’ve put on hold until I had the time to pursue them.
Well, now’s the time!
There are some things that I’ve put off because “I’m too busy.” I guess they are on my list now as well.
Brenda and I would like to do some travelling. The usual things that retired people do. Part of me wonders if this is “how it ends?”
Hopefully not. Hopefully, this is how it begins.
When I discuss this with people, someone generally mentions Ecclesiastes and I know its truth.
I anticipate a time when Brenda and I can grow together in a way uncluttered by the myriad of events, tasks and trials that a career in education brings with it.
It’s fitting that I conclude with a word of thanks. Everybody does. “I’d like to thank…” I’ve worked here so long that I struggle to recall much of what I could call “the early years.”
Normal thanks seem sort of inadequate.
Sort of like describing the light show that plays on the side of a mountain on a summer evening as “really nice.”
Maybe you’ll understand if the best I can say to the students, teachers, parents and everyone else that I’ve worked with over the years is, “Thanks for your support.”
Brenda and I have felt the prayers offered for the school and staff. We’ve been blessed by your children and the trust and encouragement you gave us. If we have made any difference in the lives of students, rest assured that you have made vast differences (for the better) in our lives.
Your memories will stay with us! Go with God.
It’s been a good run!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
That was truly well said Rob! I know it was from the heart because you both have lived and breathed Christian education for as long as I can remember. Well . . . actually we became best friends well before that time. God has blessed both of your careers in education and now you have reached that time where you will soon be remembering and reflecting on so many highlights in your your careers. That is a good time of life as you undoubtedly will find out. You have both been a blessing for many students and many students have… Read more »
You will not be forgotten. Your influence while we were your students has shaped our lives. I thank you for all the support you have given me over the years as your student. God bless.
Monica Elfstedt (de Groot), 1986 to 1990