This week's prompt for the #edublogsclub asks that we write about our classroom or place of work.
A year ago, of course, I would have posted photos of my school library, and you can still see a lot of those on my library blog. Since I retired last June, I don't yet have a regular workspace. I find that I do most of my work moving my laptop around my house. I actually spend most of my time at the kitchen table, some in the living room, and a lot less than I should in my "sitting room," the name my daughter and I came up with for my home office/guest room. Alas, while cleaning out and making the sitting room more efficient is on my retirement "to do" list, it hasn't gotten much priority yet. A lot of people have been asking me what, indeed, I've been doing in retirement. One thing I am sure of is that all my time is full! So, I'm going to use this post to share both with myself and my readers a bit about how all my time is getting filled, along with some my goals.
Supporting School Libraries and Educational Technology
While I retired from my "day job," I'm as busy as ever with all the related, unpaid work I used to do as a school librarian. I volunteer for California School Library Association and the American Association of School Librarians, and I'm an advocate for MackinTYSL. For CSLA, I'm co-webmaster and co-chair of our new ESSA task force. I'm also presenting several sessions at our conference in February. For AASL, I am serving as social media chair for the National Conference in Phoenix in November, I was just appointed to the brand new Social Media Editorial Board, I am chairing a task force to implement new social media recognitions the association will be rolling out very soon, and I am teaching an online Twitter class in March. (You may notice a strong social media theme here!) To keep my skills up, I continue to spend a lot of time on Twitter, reading blogs, attending webinars, and so on. I just completed the recertification exam for Google for Education Trainers, and am fulfilling the tasks to keep my Google for Education Innovator status active as well. During the summer and fall, I presented at two EdTechTeam Google Summits, and hope to do more of those this year.
I have been vey fortunate to get to travel. My husband and I took two wonderful trips last year: a Stanford Travel/Study tour of Scandinavia in July, and a cruise from Montreal to New York in October. I love meeting people from all over the world and trying to understand their cultures and what is unique about where they live. This month through March, my time is jam-packed with travel to a conference each month. I'm especially excited to be heading to Atlanta for the ALA Midwinter Conference late this week, where I'll be meeting with other members of AASL Conference planning committee live for the first time. Along with all the conference meetings, sessions, and speakers, I plan to take some personal time to visit Jimmy Carter's Presidential Library and to participate in the Atlanta March for Social Justice and Women on Saturday.
My husband and I haven't made any definite plans travel plans for this year yet, but we are talking about visiting some of the National Parks in the Spring and heading to Europe in the Fall.
I'm proud to say that I have been getting to my gym four + days each week, and walking almost every day I'm not there. I started taking a group swim class at the gym in July, and I swim on my own one or two days between classes. I am loving learning new swim skills for fun, relaxation, and exercise. I am also a regular at weekly barre burn and pilates classes. I love the feel of slightly soar legs as a permanent condition and the energy boost I get from more exercise.
Catching up with Friends and Family
I'm terrible about making phone calls, but I am trying harder to keep in touch with family and friends and get together with those who are local. I have always enjoyed cooking and entertaining and am doing quite a lot more cooking and some more entertaining now.
It goes without saying that I love to read. I've been trying to make it a priority to devote more time to reading for pleasure and lifelong learning. I continue to have two books going at a time, one an audiobook and the other print or ebook. Right now, I am listening to All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely and reading Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, the second book in Winston Graham's engaging series about late 18th Century Cornwall. I plan to continue to read YA books along with with adult fiction and some nonfiction.
Following the News
My father always read the Los Angeles Times from cover to cover every morning, along with several news magazines. I have always felt guilty that, as a slow reader, I couldn't keep up with the news as well as he did. So, the good and bad thing about retirement, is that I have more time to follow the news. I also read the Los Angeles Times, these days digitally during the week and in print on Sunday, but I get most of my news from Google's News links and Twitter links that come up in my feed. It's become more and more stressful in the last months. I also do my best to be an activist and contact elected officials about important social justice and equality issues. I am trying to find a proper balance between the stress of reading constantly upsetting news and being well enough informed to be a good, activist citizen.
And, yes, cleaning up and organizing the house!
... I've done a little bit of that!
So, am I enjoying my retirement? Absolutely. What are my goals to enjoy it more?
- Learn to not over-book myself and allow myself to relax a little more
- Resist this new obsession I have to be constantly following the News and upsetting myself
- Find more ways to be a change agent and political activist. I fervently believe in the value of advocating for school libraries. Why? The critical thinking skills required to distinguish fact from fiction is something that teacher librarians teach, and that both students and adults clearly need. Far too many schools do a disservice to their students by failing to employ teacher librarians and failing to teach these skills. I intend to do all I can to advocate for strong school libraries and equitable access to them for all students. I also want to explore and find the most effective ways to advocate for other social justice, civil liberties, and equity causes.
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Kyle Rolek CFP®