See that envelope in the photo? That's the one I put my retirement pension paperwork in this morning and mailed it off to Indy. It's official, I've retired. I taught welding and a few other courses for 36 years at two different school corporations. Eighteen years each, as it worked out. I'll hand in my letter to the boss tomorrow and I'll make my last day the end of next week - that'll give me time to get my stuff out and finish up a couple of jobs prior to turning in my keys.
It's been a good career and I've met a lot of nice people along the way. I've made a positive difference in a few lives, like most teachers, and probably more than I'll ever know about. I've made some mistakes and I had a few students get away from me. I learned early on, however, you can't save them all. I've attended their weddings, visited them in hospitals and jail, and been to a few funerals. I've never had the child of a former student in class but changing jobs in the middle of the career probably was responsible for that, and I've never seen one of my students graduate.
The students of today are basically the same as they always were - they reflect what's going on in society. The fashions and music are much different today than they were in 1976. Probably a good thing for the fashions, not so much for the music. High school kids still want to be accepted by their buddies and are still testing the boundaries to see what they can get away with. The work ethic today isn't what it once was, however. Once again, a reflection of today's society. There are still a lot of good kids coming into shop class and a lot more who could profit from the experience if they were to venture in.
Will I miss going back for the start of the new school year? Not only no, but Hell no. With what I've gone through this Spring and with all the changes in the educational system the last couple of years, and with what's to come, it's definitely time to go. The most compelling reason to go, however, is the beating school teachers have taken from the politicians and in the news media. The governor says we're the "privileged elite" and the rest of the politicians are ragging on the unions and tenure and the need for more charter schools and all the rest of it. But say what they will, that's not me. They can take their cheap shots at those remaining good souls who are carrying on the good fight, but I'm done with it all. From now on, I'm a craftsman. Back to where I started. It's all about progress on the projects now.
Yeah, Baby, you cain't catch me. But if you get too close, I'll be gone, like a, coooooool breeze.
Rock on, people.