Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Retirement Challenges

I find that the greatest disadvantage of being a retired teacher who is attempting to work at home is the lack of structure that is provided by a real job. I mean, when you are a real teacher, you have to report to work at a set time. This is an advantage. I find I sit down at my computer in the morning after I have read the paper, had my coffee, and debated over whether I should walk the dog or plop down in front of the computer. The plopping down in front of the computer usually wins. This is followed by checking out my favorite sites which include Facebook. "Goodness," I think when I see a post made earlier in the morning, "my daughters have been at work for several hours already and I am in my pajamas and just turning on the computer." Next I check out our family blog, and then I read my hometown newspaper on-line. Finally, I sign on to my email account from the University that I am able to still access because I am retired. This reminds me that I have responsibilities to the University since I am an adjunct professor.

I get lost in reading new research articles. I also get enthused and begin to think of ways I can include what I am reading in the class I am teaching or in professional development courses I am teaching as a consultant. I still love my field. I still love reading about what is new. I especially am impressed and inspired by what I am seeing the area of teaching with use of technology. "I am an old dog who still wants to learn new tricks," I think to myself.

When I get ready to plan for my courses, I find that it is very difficult to establish a working office area. My files, books, resources are still mostly in boxes in the basement. I have not been able to get myself organized at home. My office space is also a guest bedroom. I love this room. It is comfortable and set up with a desk, some bookshelves, a small tv and my favorite reading chair. It just does not have enough bookshelf area for all of what I traditionally am using to prepare a lesson, nor do I want it to. I want it to remain a cozy, comforting place. I also, want this room to be a place where guests feel comfortable. This means that I don't want my "stuff" cramming every open space.

I think I will eventually establish a place where I can relax and read or work on the computer that also meets the needs of allowing access to my professional books and files. In the meantime, I shift and sort and dig for materials for I need to prepare for my courses. This has been a very frustrating part of working from home.

Finally, I find that I must schedule my life better. I spend an entire two days preparing for class for every day I teach. This means that I really have to create plan, just as if I had a real job I went to everyday, when it comes to establishing a schedule. I can't just fit in my planning and grading into any little bit of spare time that happens to occur in the day. I may be retired, but I must be realistic. I am also teaching courses that involve a lot of work. My priorities must be scheduled if I want to be happy with the life I have chosen.

I have begun a Pilates program. I plan on doing Pilates every MWF from about 8:30 to 9:30 in the morning. I must think of this as a class I attend and build my schedule around it. Walking the dog on a daily basis is another exercise I don't want to give up. Today, it is unbelievably warm (73 degrees) and there seems to be a only a slight breeze outside, so I guess I will end this post, eat some lunch and get outside for a walk with the dog. I'll grade those papers I need to grade when I get back.