A New Challenge

From Miss Nelson is Missing

When I retired 7 years ago, I had no idea that I would be working as a substitute teacher in my late sixties. Thirty years ago, I was a single parent with a degree in French Literature and a "Fifth Year teaching diploma" in need of a living wage. Unassertive and insecure, I had difficulty with classroom control and management. But I persevered (it's my nature), took courses in Teaching English as a Second Language and Library Education, and I was hired in a continuing position.

uncredited from Flickr

The years passed (too quickly), my skills developed and I became a more self-assured person who acquired a "teacher voice".  I was able to develop a "sociable introvert" persona to deal with the hundreds of people in a small elementary school. Staff, parents, "I'm sure Johnny returned his library book", "Why is Johnny still in ESL?"... and students.  In 30 years, educational ministries changed, policies changed, curriculum changed and most importantly children changed.

from Scholastic website

I was unsure about becoming a substitute teacher at this stage of my life. Did I want to wait for a dispatch call sending me off to an unknown school with an unfamiliar staffroom to teach (or supervise) unknown  children? But there was something...I had paid my professional dues for the last 7 years refusing to let my license lapse because a part of me still wanted to be an educator. I missed the presence of children in my life.

Stepping outside of one's comfort zone is an important step in lifelong learning. I'm a far more skilled teacher than I was 30 years ago but I'm still learning. I've been a teacher-librarian and an ESL teacher so I've not had to teach Physical Education. As a substitute teacher ( and a totally non-athletic  survivor of 1960's PE classes), I sometimes am required to take children to the gym. I consulted with friends and I am compiling a repertoire of 5 easy games to teach to Primary students.  As my brother, who is following a post-retirement career as an international educational administrator says, "Its all part of the adventure."


  1. Your attitude is inspiring! And then all that Paris (and elsewhere) travel that the continuing employment funds . . . ;-)

  2. A teacher never stops learning, it seems. I find that even as I get closer to retirement. This new BCEd curriculum has been a huge project. Good for the brain to exert itself.

  3. The new curriculum is a different way of approaching education. It's healthy to learn new ways of teaching.

  4. Please, oh please link this up on my blog for Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone!! Such a wonderful message whose sentiments are so aligned with my own experiences. Bravo for continuing to touch the lives of children, families and faculty...and blog readers. Here's the URL to link up with us: http://onceuponatimehappilyeverafter.com/stepping-outside-my-comfort-zone-10-2018/


Post a Comment