I was a 7th-grade English teacher at a suburban Massachusetts middle school for 29 years (plus four years teaching in Maine in the 70s). Many people questioned how I could teach 12 and 13-year-olds for so long, but the truth was, I loved my job! Indeed, there were good days and bad days, good years and years that seemed endless, but there was never any doubt in my mind that I loved that age group. Their energy was boundless, and I loved the silliness and goofiness. However, while I know I prepared them for 8th grade, high school, and beyond, ultimately, they are the ones who prepared me for retirement. I officially retired on June 30, 2019, and the lessons of being around preteens and “new teens” continue to navigate me through my first retirement years.
Pat Dumas is a retired middle school teacher currently living in Cranston, Rhode Island.
I tell everyone I won the lottery ONCE. The date was June 30, 2019; it was my official retirement date from 29 years of working at a middle school in a suburban town in Massachusetts . I was 65 and had planned for this day for many years. I retired when I planned to and was mentally and physically ready. Who knew that we would be facing a pandemic a mere nine months later? I won the lottery by leaving the profession when teaching was still in a regular school environment. I regularly check in with my colleagues, and I am unsure I can do what they are still doing two years later. So yes, I won a different kind of lottery!
I had nine months of traveling bliss following my retirement date. The next month while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, I met a man through mutual friends who would eventually become my boyfriend. (That story may be another article! Ha!). After that were trips to Boston, Colorado, Disney World, San Diego, Arizona, and a repeat weekend in Boston; at that weekend getaway at a hotel, I learned about an outbreak of COVID-19 discovered at another nearby hotel. The convention at that hotel where I was staying was cut short, and you know the rest.