Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gone Like a Cool Breeze

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.


Traveling Pirate said...

Woohoo! It must feel great to mail in that paperwork. You must be grinning from ear to ear.

Frankie Flood said...

Congratulations! From what I've read on your blog it sounds like this was well deserved. Also glad to hear you've gotten a clean bill of health.

From one educator to another: "thank you" for your years of service and for sharing your knowledge. I'm sure you made an impact on more students than you can even realize.

Can't wait to see your progress on the future projects!

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Traveling Pirate: It does indeed feel good. I've still got some tidying up to do at school - I don't have to hand in my keys until the end of next week - but "The Big Load" is off my back.

Frankie Flood: Thanks for the kind words. I'm feeling good and raring to go. There probably won't be any of those fancy things like you make in my future but as soon as I get caught up a little, you'll be able to see my smoke from Milwaukee.

You keep doing what you've been doing too, buddy. I showed your pizza cutter video for career day, by the way. Big hit.

Kevin Kaluf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin Kaluf said...

"Bob", I want to publicly wish you a wonderful retirement and to thank you for all your friendship the last 13 years of my life. I don't think I would have become the teacher or man I've become without you mentoring me to be better in all walks of life. There's lots of things I probably should have listened to better that you told me, but overall, I "got" most of your lessons - thanks for helping to shape me to be the person I've become!

dorkpunch said...

Congrats! I hope I make it as far as you did. Glad you get to take a loooonnngg summer break, and I hope for the sake of those of us that are still teaching you keep your blog going. Especially now that you have all that free time to crank out all those projects that have been on hold for the last 30 years.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Kevin: Thanks for the good wishes on my upcoming retirement and as far as the friendship goes, all good friendships are a two-way street. I got a lot out of our chats during our long training runs. Thanks also for the Facebook posting. It generated a lot of nice comments and, of course, we were both involved with many of the same people, Grasshopper.

dorkpunch: Haven't heard from you in a while - thanks for the kind words I hope your school year went well. You young guns have to keep up the fight. What you're doing is more important now than ever.

I'm planning on keeping the blog going. I should have plenty of project stuff to report, plus I can speak out a little more about educational issues without having to look over my shoulder.

cuzzin ricky said...

congrats i'm glad you made to the end of your great career you can be proud of the students you turned out over the years and steered them in them right direction congrats again and lets do a trip cuzzin ricky

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Cuzzin Ricky: Thanks. It's been a good run.

I'm always up for a road trip. I just need a couple of weeks to get things cleaned up and put away around here. That's two weeks when it's not 95 degrees with 80% humidity. Hard to get much done with the sweat dripping in your eyes.