Saturday, November 25, 2017

Major Adjustments

I have studied history through travel.

Yesterday was the first school district Professional Development Day that I have attended in more than six years. During those six years since I was employed as an educator, I have been a learner.
I studied Advanced French at the Sorbonne, Spanish in Mexico and assorted topics with my husband at Ageless Pursuits. I was a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella, I volunteered as a tutor and as a library assistant in Oaxaca, I wrote a blog (on a more regular basis) and I wrote a children's book (unpublished but I could use it as a teaching tool). I won't go on but when I look back, I've certainly progressed in my experiences and in my education.

I have learned about my genealogy.

So, why am I a bit intimidated by some new technology, catch-phrases and acronyms? I overheard some teacher-candidates (used to be student teachers) talking about they considered "old". Okay 40!!! It's funny but probably at age 23 or 24, I would have thought the same. Most of the "ignites" (I had no idea what an ignite was) were about the value of play in learning for children of all ages. Not a new concept..On to the teacher-librarian session (only 2 faces that I recognized) where I was introduced as a "very experienced t-l who had returned to rescue a school library".  I am starting to feel like Methuselah.

But, I took my morning's learning about searchable databases for elementary students and I planned a unit of study in French on media awareness. I learned how to take a screen shot and to Airdrop the material into my colleague's box. I am a "progressing" learner with the technology and I am trying to figure out my relationship with the rest of the staff. Will I go to the Christmas staff party? I'm personally at a very different stage of life from the rest of the staff.

I plan to attend more evening theatre or musical events this year.

Something that I have enjoyed (mea culpa) is the unexpected financial windfall. As a retired woman, I have had a carefully edited wardrobe. I have not bought "dress shoes" for years. My husband does not "dress up" and I gave up my subscriptions to opera and theatre as I was travelling so much. This week, I bought a pair of Beautifeel dress pumps and an indigo lace dress by Gilmour, a Vancouver design company. I shall wear my dress throughout the year. Perhaps, since I will not be travelling (except in school holidays), I shall treat myself to some extra evening outings. I've looked at staying at a downtown hotel for a week-end (by myself) because I am already missing "alone time".

Another confession! I am cranky at home because it seems that I am never in the apartment alone.
I am a morning person so I don't come home at four in the afternoon and start a project. My husband goes out generally in the evening for music but I fall asleep (not my puttering time). As I have been writing, Monsieur keeps speaking to me and I feel mildly irritated. Book club is Monday and I have barely started reading...I am making a giant salad for Lunch Club at work (team-building activity)...
Christmas is coming and my decor is still Thanksgiving...I promised a friend that I would donate some unused toiletries to a transition house so I should curate my bathroom vanity....  These are all activities that take personal attention.  Right now, much of my energy is going to making the adjustment to regular employment.

Yesterday, a few former colleagues (younger) marvelled that I looked healthy and asked if I would continue working. Forever??? Probably not! But it is a journey down a different road.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Learning Anew

walking at sunrise on the dyke

It's  complicated to "unretire". There are many forms to fill in to obtain certain benefits and to
renounce others. I didn't give up my teaching license and I am working at the same school in the same school district so my credentials and experience are still on file. One less paper to fill out!

School libraries have been "reinstated" in our province and our district director told me that we have 14 new teacher-librarians. Many of these newbies have no courses in Library Education. Their learning curve must be a lot steeper than mine because I started to work in libraries in 1981 (before they were born!!!) I have volunteered at the Oaxaca Lending Library since my retirement so I'm not really out of touch.

Technology has changed in the school in 6 years. I have a "white board" and can project from my computer to use educational websites and databases. I probably won't buy much in the way of nonfiction books as these become "outdated" and certainly are not the way of the future. Every teacher has been issued with a laptop and teacher iPhones are just part of the equipment.

cheery red and grey combination

I am a lot older than the rest of the staff. The next oldest is 52! I have developed a "back to school"
wardrobe. I am enjoying "dressing for school" and I have made several new purchases. I am especially enjoying a fleece lined dress by Chalet with a grey and red poppy infinity scarf that I bought in La Conner and a red Eileen Fisher tunic from my New York trip. Grey is a simple colour to accessorize and I like to wear a pair of low black  boots for comfort. I am wearing my fitbit and my steps are adding up. I still walk with my friend and with my brother on my days off.

Some days I wonder what I am doing! This is such an unexpected twist in the road. I hope to learn some new skills this year and perhaps to be an example of lifelong learning.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Modern Elder?

I'm glad that I didn't miss my walk and coffee at the Seniors' Centre.

I am addicted to listening to podcasts. I really enjoy the modern equivalent of the "old-time radio show". I listen in the evening after my husband and I watch a Netflix production together. Personally,
I use my eyes a lot during the day and I prefer to limit my television screen time to two hours.

Last night, I listened to a presentation called In the Balance:Managing the Five Generation Workplace where Chuck Conley, a fifty-something, who had been hired by the very young founders of AIRBNB as a "modern elder", spoke about the different behaviours and tendencies of the generations in the workplace.

Now, I'm going out to the "parking lot garden".

As I have just returned to work on a part-time basis, my ears "perked up". I was born in 1952 (right in the middle of the baby boom. Most of the staff at the school where I am working are "generation X" or "millennial" based on their apparent ages. While I spent my "20's" as a young mother/student/wife
with a full-time worker/evening student/ husband, my youngest colleagues are unmarried professionals who are buying their first apartments. They are enthusiastic and energetic. They are comfortable with the Digital Age and they are eager to help.

The next group of staff, "generation x",  closer in age to my daughter, have long-established careers in the same school/district and are homeowners with children. As the "old new woman on the block", I am looking to create a role for myself.

I am working in an elementary school library so there is the additional youngest generation, the students.  I'm wondering, "How do I wish to be perceived?" I'm not really a "granny type." I have enough "digital savvy" to use online resources effectively and my French has improved since my retirement.We have a new curriculum in our province and supporting print resources (especially in French)
are almost nonexistent. Establishing budget and locating resources will be my first challenge.

This is an unexpected path for me at this time in my life. It is part-time and temporary (probably for the school year). Yesterday, the principal asked me if I would substitute on my days off. No! While I am happy that the school library can be open with a qualified teacher-librarian, I have no desire to teach P.E. or kindergarten. I have a walking date with a friend which takes priority. I might meet my daughter later and Monsieur and I have plans. Besides, there's laundry....I am definitely not on a career path.

I'm not sure what Chuck Conley's job was...something about providing emotional intelligence to those who already had digital intelligence but I liked the sound of it. I aspire to be a "modern elder"
this year.