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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Challenges Along The Road To Retirement

        As my retirement date approaches I continue to face challenges in accomplishing activities that I value. I am only teaching two courses.  Both are scheduled twice a week on different days.  It is the first time in six years that I have taught four days a week, Monday through Thursday. I used to regularly teach four courses per term.  Combined they took up a half day on all four days. It was relatively easy, just part of the job.
         My other main interests are creating postings for this blog and volunteer work at the local seniors centre.  Frequently over the last month my activities have been getting in the way of each other. By including interests outside teaching I am experiencing cognitive challenges even with the reduced teaching time.  I regularly create new retirement blog entries and I am busy on the seniors’ centre board committee that is currently seeking new board members. 
         I have no trouble choosing the order of importance in these three activities; teaching, board work and finally blog entry creation but they all take time.  I have found that the Selective Optimization with Compensation Model (SOC) helps me understand my behavior and in explaining the ways that I am adapting to change as retirement approaches. The model says that we start by deciding which concerns and activities are worthy of deeper interests and commitment. All of the above three are important but until I retire teaching comes first. Next September, after I have left the University I will make some new choices about ways to manage my time.
         Trying to get everything done each day is sometimes stressful. In my teaching about half the time in class is spent in student discussion groups that focus on topics relevant to the chapter being covered that week.  Because its been a long time since I have been teaching these two courses back to back I spend quite a bit of time looking for appropriate classroom activities and creating handouts for the students group discussion sessions.  The board subcommittee meetings and interviews come at different times throughout the month and I have been having difficulty keeping track of them. Several days ago I bought a 2011 Monthly Monitor Handbook and I am now able to keep better track of meeting dates and classroom assignments.
           When I retire, I anticipate that these types of challenges will continue. I will have more time to contribute blog entries and engage in board work.  I realize that I will miss teaching and that I can’t do everything that I was doing before.  My workshops will be substitutes for my previous university activities and will help with finances.

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