Local educators describe mixed emotions of retiring
As Lubbock students and teachers headed back to school Monday for a new year, Altah Swindle didn’t join them.
After 30 years as a teacher, Swindle said she has had mixed emotions about retiring.
Swindle won the Newton Excellence in Education Award from the Beaumont Foundation just two months before retiring from teaching sophomore English at Frenship High School.
“It was the right thing” to retire, Swindle said.
But knowing that her former co-workers were gearing up to start a new school year has really weighed on her mind in the last few weeks.
“This weekend, I’ve been thinking about the kids coming back. And that has really been tugging at my heartstrings,” Swindle said. “I know that these new teachers that I’ve met will love them (the students) just as much.”
Ready for next step
Pat and Jo Ellen Henderson are not as conflicted about their decision to retire from education.
Jo Ellen Henderson, who retired as the public information officer at Lubbock-Cooper ISD in May, said she and her husband are enjoying their retirement.
“We miss the people that we have worked with,” Jo Ellen Henderson said. “Education was a great career for both of us, and we wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.”
But she said they are happy where they are, in Horseshoe Bay, a community about 50 miles southwest of Austin. In that location, she said, they are about halfway between their children, and importantly, their grandchildren.
“We’re in a very good place, but we do miss the people, and we miss the students and the faculty,” she said.
Her husband, Lubbock-Cooper’s former superintendent, echoed her words. He said he wrote an e-mail Sunday evening to his former colleagues, board members and his children who are still in Lubbock-Cooper, wishing them a good school year.
“I can’t say that I miss doing all that,” Pat Henderson said, refering to all of the tasks on the first day of school. “If I wanted to know something, I have a phone. But I’m not calling to see what the enrollment is, or what the bus problems were.”
Instead, he said, he’s been doing a lot of reading, marveling that he’s read two books in the past few days. He’s also been lifting weights and walking a lot.
“It’s very relaxing. It certainly is very different,” Pat Henderson said.
Staying busy helps
When Swindle retired at the end of the school year, she said it felt like a normal summer off in many ways. It’s only in the last few weeks that retirement has become more real.
Swindle said some of her friends who retired before her gave her pointers.
“One of my dear friends retired two years ago, and she just happened to plan a trip to her parents’ (home) the week that we all went back,” Swindle said. “She said she found it helped her.”
So in the past few weeks, she has tried to stay busy and even took a trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico.
In the past week, she did go to the Frenship ISD convocation and to an English department luncheon.
“Things like that have kept me in touch with my close friends, but then I’m moving on to this new adventure for myself,” she said.
In the future, she really wants to do some volunteering. Working with unwed mothers is of particular interest.
“I’ve teased, but I’m fairly serious about” rocking premature babies at a local hospital, she said.
All teachers, she said, have a natural desire to help others, so she wants to find a new way to do that.
“And now I have time,” Swindle said.
Even though she has been thinking a lot about her students and former co-workers, Swindle said she has been pleasantly surprised that she has more positive than negative emotions.
“I’ve found myself being very proud of my career and having more positive reactions than regrets,” she said. “I got to work with some of the most wonderful people and made the best friends. So I can’t have too many regrets. It was too much fun.”
You must be logged in to post a comment.