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By Louis Kampf

“Do you miss teaching?” That’s what people ask, almost invariably, when they hear that I’m retired. This has been going on since I quit 15 years ago at age 67.

Usually I hesitate before responding. Why the hesitation?

I enjoyed teaching, and was very good at it. That sounds immodest, but I assure the reader that it’s true. Former students still write that the courses I taught strongly influenced, in a positive way, the direction of their lives. Of course, this makes me feel good. Yet I retired voluntarily at an age when I was still learning, still getting excellent evaluations, looking forward to meeting my classes.

Why? For one thing I discovered that my pension would be larger than the salary I was collecting at the time. Less crass, I considered that old age was creeping up on me. I did not want to spend another minute, hour, day of my life sitting through a boring and inane department or committee meeting. That’s too mildly put. The crap being parsed with exquisite logic and illogic numbed my senses. “What am I doing here?” I kept asking myself. Is this the life-affirming vocation I have chosen? Others must know the feeling. Yet the teaching was not ruined by these sour feelings.

So I hesitate before responding to the question at the top. “NO,” firmly put, is my answer. “Not at all?” most people ask. “No, not at all.”

I wonder whether anyone believes me. Surely, I must be masking my real feelings. Perhaps. I haven’t seen a shrink about it. But I’m pretty sure that I’m not kidding myself.

If anyone reads this, especially ┬áretired teachers, what are your thoughts? There are probably studies in the works about these matters. Meanwhile, let’s start our own study (support group?) on this blog page.

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