As a principal, I really liked the first day of school. I got to see families and kids once again and I was always excited about all the great stuff that was planned for the new school year.
This year has been a little different. For the first time in 31 years, I am not in a school. I retired last December, so being away from school is not new to me. But, the first day of school is special.
So today, I needed to do something to mark this occasion. I was up almost at the same time – my wife is still teaching – and I drove her to school. I then got my trekking gear on and headed to the Gatineau, the beautiful hills just north of Ottawa.
I hike a good deal these days, especially the Wolf Trail in the Gatineau. Almost always I trek with friends or family, today I went by myself.
I wanted to have a day of quiet reflection, a day to note a new turn in my education career. I say a new turn because I am still an educator. I still work hard at connecting with other educators through Twitter, blogging and most recently, VoiceEd Radio.
I see myself now as an educator who is not tied to any school board or any official position. This is allowing me to write with more honesty about what I think about a whole host of education issues and topics. It allows me to take part in great projects like the Dream Mountains Kilimanjaro trek last year and this year a climb in Peru for Christie Lake Kids and hopefully a three-week trip to El Salvador with University of Ottawa students.
I think as educators we need to constantly evolve and grow. When we are fortunate enough to be able to retire, I think it is something to seriously consider. One can continue doing what they are doing, but I think with diminishing returns.
We always remain educators however, we just move to other stages.
Today was a wonderful day of hiking and reflection. I treasure the past and look forward to new vistas as an educator. The challenge remains the same – to seek out the new opportunities to grow and contribute.