If teaching is your vocation, retirement can feel like jumping off a cliff.
When you make the break, take things slowly. This isn’t the Christmas holidays. It will take you 6 – 9 months just to realize you are not on long service leave.
Plan a Trip
A trip will give you something to look forward to and it will give you a routine and purpose as you break the daily lockstep regime of school.
Plan your living space to suit your new lifestyle.
Start by chucking stuff out. (Take my advice…. I’m not using it! I still have teaching resources in the shed from 20 years ago!)
Make space for friends or grandkids or an ageing parent.
Create a You Space. A place for your boat or office or art studio.
Why not renovate your house so that you can house swap with a retired teacher from England for 6 months?
Earn some money
You are too young to sit in a rocking chair on the verandah for the next 30 years. Your teaching expertise could be the key to your income.
You could take on relief teaching or after school coaching.
If you are an English teacher you may be able to bring in money by writing.
If you teach phys ed you may start selling or teaching a health regime.
History teachers can start earning by researching and writing family histories.
People with practical skills can join the remakery revolution and start fixing things that would go to landfill. This is one of the most exciting movements emerging today and one that we are well suited for either as teachers of young people wanting to develop practical skills or as renovators and menders repairing broken stuff.
More baby boomers are starting small businesses than any other demographic group. We have knowledge, experience and a network of contacts to help us to succeed.
A surprising number of teachers have launched into photography and are becoming really good at it. Indulging their creativity and improving their skills has become their purpose.
One friend is a cat loving photographer. He has started a business taking professional portraits of much loved cats.
Volunteer. My brother volunteered to teach English to refugees. He gradually extended his support from teaching to helping the families tackle all sorts of barriers. He now has friends from around the world who reward his generosity with amazing feasts of delicious exotic food.
Whether it is becoming an expert photographer, renovating houses or working with orphans in Cambodia, finding your purpose may be your biggest challenge and biggest reward after leaving teaching.
Stay In Touch
Loneliness is the number one cause of depression so consciously stay in touch with friends and colleagues. Post photos of your trip, your renovation and your new business on Facebook so that people can stay engaged with your life.
Invite them on photography tours or to renovation classes with you. You will be valued for your ability to find fun things to do.
You can easily maintain your friendships by continuing to work part time or by doing relief teaching at your school.
Don’t expect your partner to become your full time friend. They have their own life to live. Negotiating expectations about time spent together can be a delicate process best approached slowly.
If you are tired of trying to think about what you are going to do next and feeling overwhelmed by stepping into the world beyond school it may be time to think about hiring a qualified career advisor to guide you towards your next chapter.