The April 15th retirement party and dinner was actually fun. The party was fairly small— not too many folks retiring in these hard times.
I skipped the English Department retirement party. How many retirement parties can one take? Also, some of the folks I never want to see again would probably have been there.
The last few weeks really are the hardest. One of my colleagues who has seen many of his age cohort retire told me, “They all said when you make the final decision to retire all those dissatisfactions you repressed-- so you could keep on going day after day—rise to the surface. When you’re no longer facing years on the same job, it’s safe to acknowledge that you’re burning out."
I have some really good students this semester. I was afraid I would get the class from hell my last semester but fortunately that didn’t happen. So I have some good students who deserve good teaching and I am trying to hold up my end. I want to end this thing honorably, but I am exhausted.
In teaching, no matter hard you work, it’s never enough. There are always classes you could have prepared better, papers you could have graded more carefully, students you could have tried harder to reach etc etc.
I will soon be facing my last stack of papers to grade. It’s the paper grading that drives so many of us into early retirement. A friend (a retired Women’s Studies professor) told me she had a dinner for a group of retired academics and they all said that last set of papers is the hardest to get through. In your mind, you’re already retired, but the papers are still there.
From the perspective of someone with a really hard job, I guess I sound like an impossible whiner. Okay, I’m not scrubbing floors, emptying bedpans or washing dishes for a living, but teaching really does take an emotional toll.
Well, time to stop whining and get back to grading those papers.