Sorting It Out After Retirement

My retirement has been far from normal. My original plan was to retire in June after teaching my last class of second grade. The year was off to a great start in September when I met my wonderful class and I was so excited to celebrate all my “lasts” with them. Unfortunately, that only lasted until March and even though I was approaching retirement, I was now starting with my firsts. My first time using Google Classroom and Slides, learning virtual learning programs and teaching my class online. No one knew what to expect and I think we did the best we could. I did not feel the same end of school year feeling and definitely not the bittersweet one I expected. And now as the new school year approaches and I am not involved in it, I have some sorting out to do to figure out what it is I want to do with the rest of my life.

I will always be a teacher in my heart

Before my initial plan to retire, I did some freelance writing on my blogs and also for some clients on Upwork. Since school ended I continue to write for clients on Upwork and I have recently started and shared a series of my articles on Vocal Media. I have written articles on education. Also, I have shared my love of cooking and written articles with my recipes and cooking suggestions. I have broadened my portfolio to include some travel blogs for my travel during Covid.

As the new school year approaches and my colleagues are returning to work without me I plan to “make a plan” for myself. I did not retire because I was too old to work but rather because I wanted to spend more time with my retired husband and also pursue some of my other passions which have been dormant during my crazy, mixed up days as a teacher. Those are days that I will always treasure and because of my pension, I am thankful that I can pursue my other interests.

So what do people want to do when they retire?

Relaxation
  1. Spend time with others – now is the time to get together with friends, go to places you never had time to visit, and really make yourself happy by little indulgences you are now able to enjoy.
  2. Spend time with family – For me having a new grandson (who lives very far away) gives me an opportunity to love him and visit him whenever I can without the restrictions of school holidays.
  3. Spend time on myself – This includes taking time for fitness which was always done in a rush. I can now work around my free time and take a fitness class daily if I want and I don’t have to rush in the door, change in 5 minutes to scamper off to a class while totally exhausted.
  4. Give Back – Once the pandemic eases up, I would like to dedicate part of my retirement to helping others whether it be volunteering at a library to read aloud to children (one of my favorite activities as a teacher) or raise money for a cause I truly believe in. I was always interested in this and because of the time commitment I just never pursued it.
  5. Do nothing – This is the hardest for me. Accepting that it is okay to sometimes do nothing and that it is totally fine. If I just want to sit and read, or take my time checking emails or watch a non-thinking type of program on television, I now can do all that and not feel guilty. Well, I am working on that part.

Well, I am just starting my retirement journey so I will have to take small steps. Small steps to get by all the people that exclaim “oh you’re so lucky” or “now you can do whatever you want” without feeling guilty about it. I always have to remember the endless years of full-time work that took up most of my life. So here it — the beginning of the journey of retirement. Well, I’m tired now so I think I will go take a nap.

Being with others.

If you would like to read some articles about my educational journey, please visit https://ellyelementary.wordpress.com.

The “Unimportance” of Grammar

Elly Elementary

As an educator for over 20 years, the way we teach children to write has changed dramatically.  Before the creation of various online sites that encourage writing, to using social media and researching on the internet, children no longer have to rely on reading a book and taking notes. Or rewriting over and over again when they can simply edit right on the computer.

diligent small girl drawing on paper in light living room at home Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Years ago, grammar was taught faithfully and students were expected to diagram sentences and know and identify the different parts of speech.  Essays were written with introductions, a body of about three paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Students were prepared to write their research papers, and eventually their college application essays.

So, what has changed?

crop person taking notes in diary during studies Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

With the continuing evolution of technology and the unending changes to the way we communicate on social media and…

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Newport: A Beautiful Retreat in the New Normal

Beautiful bay view….

This was a most unusual year and summer. When we had the opportunity to visit Newport, Rhode Island with friends, we decided to visit with quarantine in mind and enjoy the beauty that Newport offers. Rhode Island seemed to be doing very well during this pandemic, with low numbers and strict enforcements.  With strict rules at every establishment we were able to have a fun-filled week despite Covid.  We opted to skip the beaches and pools which were more populated than our comfort level.  Instead we focused on seeing Newport, a magnificent city set on the Narragansett Bay.  Our hotel was right on the bay and gave us a breathtaking view of the boats and the bay from sunrise to sunset.  We did not feel the excruciating heat because of the cool breezes from the water.

In my phone notes from over three years ago, I made sure to remember to visit the White Horse Tavern, the oldest tavern in America. It was so beautifully, well-kept with furniture and flooring depicting the time it was built. We enjoyed a delicious brunch served in an antique setting.

Oldest tavern in America

We found so many places to visit that were still open with limitations while going on our tours. We opted to try a trolley tour (we were staggered every other row and seat) and enjoyed the sites of Newport as our guide relished us with the history and sites that Newport has to offer.

One day we decided to walk along Bellevue Avenue and visit the shops. We enjoyed visiting the Audrain Automobile Museum. The cars were spectacular, to say the least, and our visit was focused on headlights from original cars to present.

Love the headlights….

We spent many hours visiting the shops on Thames Street and a few restaurants as well, such as Smokehouse and Brick Alley Pub. We read all the customer reviews and tried to diversity our choices within the amount of time we were there. There are so many to choose from that I actually put notes in my phone for a future visit. We enjoyed the lobster specials at the Red Parrot, including the lobster quesadillas, which I normally would be afraid to order. But when in Newport, you think differently about lobster. I was delighted when I saw the huge chunks of lobster in the quesadillas. Just the right amount of cheese was in them so you could enjoy the decadence of the lobster meat.

Lobster chunks in quesadillas

While on Thames Street ,we also visited the Newport History Museum which took you back in time when Newport was first discovered and became a colony. As a history buff, I enjoyed visiting the museum and even watching the retrospective videos.

During our trolley ride, we were able to see all the beautiful mansions that are part of Newport’s history and appeal. We were seated very carefully in alternate seats and rows because of the pandemic. Personally, I was disappointed that the mansion where the Great Gatsby was filmed was not open for visitors There were only two open for viewing, and we actually only toured one – The Breakers. Supposedly, the Breakers is the grandest of the mansions, and I will say, the most ostentatious. It was considered a “summer cottage” by the Vanderbilt family. The family fortune was established by Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt in the steamship business and the New York Central Railroad. When he became president of the railroad, he purchased a wooden house called the Breakers in Newport in 1893.

I think I would enjoy cooking here….
The grand entrance to the Breakers
View from the back of The Breakers

The Vanderbilt’s had seven children.  You could see the amount of wealth when touring the mansion, with gold details everywhere and marble walls and staircases.  For me the best part of the tour was the view of the outside back porch which overlooked the water.  The grounds were immense and beautifully manicured.  The house was immense but decorated in 1900 gaudy décor.  It was interesting to see the servants’ quarters where 32 out of 40 of their servants lived.  Their kitchen alone was a dream for anyone who loves extensive cooking. A definite point of interest on your trip to Newport. And hopefully when we get back to normal you can visit some of the others.  We drove by mansions owned by many famous families including Judge Judy, Jay Leno and the owners of Alex and Ani.

One day we were lucky to take a ferry ride to ports in Fort Adams and Jamestown. We visited Fort Adams which was a historic park located in the harbor. In Newport, the fort was active from 1841 through World War II. It was certainly authentic as we found areas to be completely unkept and unattended to.

Our view as we ate in Jamestown

Another stop on our ferry tour was the town of Jamestown, with its New England style mansions and docks for fishing, kayaking and enjoying the beautiful scenery. We ate lobster rolls at Spinnakers Café, right on the dock, enjoying the beautiful Jamestown community and bay in front. I must say that I did try lobster in many places we visited, including lobster quesadillas at the Red Parrot, lobster roll at the Wharf Pub, and seafood chowder along the way. A great breakfast place right near our hotel was Gary’s Handy Lunch Diner – a little retro and with many daily specials to choose from.

Lobster roll

If you decide to do a local vacation this summer, Rhode Island is a good choice and Newport is the place to go. We were very impressed with the restrictions placed on touring and even eating in restaurants that we felt safe being out and about and enjoying the sites. Newport is a fun place to explore, full of history and just beautiful and serene. While New Yorkers were suffering with humidity, we could feel the breeze from the water throughout our stay. A beautiful getaway that I want to visit again.

A breathtaking sunset.