Our OTPP [Ontario Teacher Pension Plan] is one of the best in the world. Of course you pay 13% of your salary throughout your career. It is excellently managed and invested by a world class investment team. It is really an excellent example for others on how a pension should be run, so don't put up with any criticism or b.s. because we have done so well.
Long and short of it? This morning I woke up, looked at my alarm clock. Saw it was time to get up for the first day of school. Then rolled over, stretched out and fell back asleep. I've been looking forward to doing that for so long it definitely is a milestone in my life to date.
Personally the lack of academic and behavioural standards, like our lack of support + respect for professionally setting and enforcing them, has long sucked the joy out of teaching for me. Had it been different in my own school circumstances I would've stayed on for a few more years at least, but it's just not there. Oh well. I get my life back. Often time is worth more than money. Not that I'm exactly broke or anything like that.
Later I got up, opened all the windows, stood out on the balcony with my coffee, drinking in the peace and quiet now that most everyone has gone back to school and work. Enjoyed breakfast on the couch watching the hourly news. Not much happening. Turned off the t.v. and put some nice music on instead. Sat back and went, Ahhhhhhh .....
I phoned the travel agent to book my trip to the Cuban schools. Yes that continues. I set it up, and am director. Have been since I started the project in the 1990's. Its doing well. I am eager to go back, do some consulting, a little teaching, in a class and community that really respects and appreciates teachers and education. My sister is coming down again this year. She is a nurse, so she's been getting some medical supplies together. It's pretty specialized, because of the US embargo. I have never quite been able to figure it out except for the obvious things.
Unfortunately, the flight packages in and out for some southern parts of the island are irregular at best. Offers, prices and availability just don't add up to credible. Cuba can be like that. My sister has to book time off work so we can't make reservations only to find out the flight is cancelled or rescheduled later, our reservations cancelled. So now we will be heading there November 6.
I have lots to do around home. It will be nice to enjoy early fall in southern Ontario, the leaves changing colour, the first hint of frost in the morning air. The harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables. Then just as it's getting cold fly the hell out of here for a bit. It's great not to be tied to the school year schedule anymore. I also haven't done my sea diving trip this year yet. Maybe after Christmas? Dead of winter? That would be nice. Or who knows, a good deal and off I go pretty much anytime.
So. How do your classes look this year?
Anyway, I'm retired now. I won't rub it in. Remember though; someday this can be yours too. Unless the government goes after it. Or you burn out. Because you are getting treated so badly you wonder just what the hell you are doing at school and quit.
BTW I also made phone calls to follow up on a number of stories I've been covering on this blog. You might guess what they are. I still believe in public education. It's so important, even if it is often little respected or realistic anymore. It's the great social leveller. Opportunities for all. Well we all know the teaching mantra.
My blog will be continuing. I plan to continue fighting the good fight, covering education and politically related issues etc. etc. etc. If anything I suppose I should be able to do so even better from now on. Online as usual ...
I had an idea lately that I've been pondering at depth, making contacts and so on and so forth. Its still early in the current political school year. I'm thinking it would be good to form a loose network with other educational social media types to help build consent for our common teacher cause. The mainstream media does so for it's business and political interests. Folks hear this and that, figure it's the status quo, it must be true.
As teachers we know that much of what's said about education is pure b.s. and misleading. Might it not be good to rally our resources in the good fight then, as a strong and viable media alternative, for now and in the years ahead? Find where our consensus is. Build on + reinforce it as a concerted effort? Offer different progressive points of views, even from each other. Teachers are smart, you can read and think for yourself. Let's just make sure the info, resources and perspectives you might consider are getting out there?
If you are reading and are involved in the social media, please do contact me if interested. It might be a worthwhile effort. Together we all really are the teacher movement at the most basic grassroots level. I really think so.