Professor Sharon

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40 and playing hooky

April 23rd, 2014 · 100 Days Project, eating, Museums, Musings, retirement

After a morning student teacher observation visit, hubby and I played hooky!  Drive a bit south to see a few great exhibits at the Springfield (MA) Museums!  A little rain didn’t spoil the day of art, lunch at the cafe and yogurt on the way home!

How does one play hooky in retirement?

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41and nature

April 22nd, 2014 · 100 Days Project, Children, College students, Education, Musings, Reading, retirement

It really struck me today that I’m six classes away from the end of my adult teacher education teaching career.

I walked the two miles to work on a beautiful spring day enjoying the college’s many marshes and ducks coming to spend their spring with us. In early childhood curriculum class we talked about one of our texts: Last Child in the Woods.  I had been on a hike this past weekend and enjoyed the thrill of the frogs singing in a vernal pool.  It was Earth Day, and I remembered that I’d been among the millions who had joined protests that day (I was a sophomore in high school and it was my first activist moment).

As I tied all of these thoughts, events and ideas together in our class discussion of Louv’s fourth frontier, it occurred to me that these were the rich moments of learning I really love.  One student thought Earth Day was a Hallmark event (oh, dear).  A few had fond memories of planting trees at their elementary schools in honor of Earth Day.  All had something to say about nature and its importance in the early care and education environment.

It was a great discussion.  This time of the semester students enjoy each others’ opinions, push each others’ thinking, and are even willing to say, “oops, I didn’t read all three assigned chapters, but I’d like to say something about the two I did read?”

Without a doubt, I know my moments of good conversations with good people struggling to grapple with important ideas are not over.  I did feel today that they are over in this way: in my own classroom with people I’ve formed learning relationships with for ten weeks and I’m pushing to push themselves to learn even more, and to see its importance to their work with our youngest citizens.

I really shall miss that.

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43, 42 and skills

April 21st, 2014 · 100 Days Project, family, Musings, retirement, time

I found this website/blog by Bob Lowry today and really liked his question:  “Do you lack the necessary skills to retire?”   Although, truth be told, I would have asked it as “Do you have the necessary skills to retire?”  I spent a few minutes looking at blogs about retirement and soon tired of the topics: money – do you have enough or not: time – what to do with it, because apparently we’ll have too much of it: feelings – should you or shouldn’t you have done it, because apparently we’ll have more feelings about it than we’ve had about anything else: family – because apparently they demand more of you when you have more time and don’t realize you have less money: and more money.  I soon tired of them all.  And, frankly, some retired bloggers writing about retirement spend too much time blogging — I really don’t think blog entries should be several pages long!

I appreciated the discussion on this site of the journey that retirement is and will be. I think the skills were really on-target and good questions. I had to think about all of these issues as a newlywed, as a mother, as a part of making job decisions – basically throughout my life.  I know that I have to continue to think, plan and be smart about this next portion of my life.  But, please, it’s just a part of life.

I am so aware of how fortunate I am to retire from this job at 60.  I also know that I have a lot of plans and life will still be, at times, interesting, sad, lonely, exciting, frustrating and stressful.

I’m not leaving my life behind at retirement.  I’m not checking it at the door.  In fact, I’m opening another door and what an adventure lies ahead!  (And, yes, I have a financial plan, have discussed issues with my family, and have many hobbies!)

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44 and plans

April 19th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, family, Musings, My Goals, retirement, time

Sooner or later I’m going to die, but I’m not going to retire.
Margaret Mead

The closer I get to “retirement,” the more I really understand why it was so hard for my father.  He had his first heart attack in his 40s, and although he didn’t have many more – remarkably given that he didn’t change his life habits much – he did die by 64.  He did begin to have bad health, and his work asked him to retire early a couple of years before his death.  He had a teenager he was raising with his sister, and a love of ham radios, but didn’t really pick up any other hobbies.  The slow life was very hard for him.

I have so many hobbies and interests that I fear my retirement will be busier than my work life!


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45 and the next generation of teachers

April 18th, 2014 · 100 Days Project, Children, College students, Education, Musings, retirement, Teaching & Learning

Last night I went to the Greenfield Center School‘s Variety Show.  I was witness to the most talented, creative and lovely acts ever – musical acts put together by children of all ages, and in many cases written by them.  They played and sang music with each other, with family members, and with their teachers.  At the heart of each number was real and true respect – for each other, for their craft, for their audience, and for themselves.

In one act, the smallest children in the school got up on stage to move to a song sung by their teacher about being birds.  You could hear a pin drop, and then when it was over, the audience signed their applause so as not to startle the Little ones.  Not an older child in the room called out or broke that respect.

This is the way education could be, and is, when teachers like these model respect, kindness and love.  I could rant, at this point, about all the research we have, and the facts we know, about how content will be easiest learned with respect and relationships at its heart (and don’t even think about standards issues).

The evening’s relationship to my retirement was because I sat there knowing that my days as a full-time teacher were over.  And, although I plan to work with young children in some capacity, volunteering to read and, perhaps, subbing now and again; I’ve had my turn in the classroom.  I loved it.  I have always missed it since I moved to adult education.  And, I applaud it.

These teachers do not get the respect they deserve from their communities.  Please know that I am giving it to you — always, in my heart, soul and mind. I applaud the work you do. Enjoy every second.  It will one day be your turn to watch.  I was so moved by watching you. I was moved by the knowledge that the children in your care are learning so much from you.  Thank you.

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