Saying Goodbye,

In a rare departure from the usual content I post on here, I’d like to look at a personal side of my work.   I am saddened by the loss of a good friend and colleague-Mr. Cole Kirby.  Cole was only seven months into his retirement when he passed on suddenly due to a heart attack.  In addition to being a good leader, Cole was a student-first administrator.  He could often be quoted as saying “If it’s good for kids, I’m in.”  He also spared no words in acknowledging what teachers did for students.  In short, my friend Cole was a very nice man.  Feeling the sadness of this loss has given me to pause about the tragedy of a man who works his whole life in service to others and when he finally is able to live for himself, expires.  What is it about this profession (and others) that causes the replication of this scenario repeatedly?  Personally, I have been reflecting on the important things in life and how much time I have spent looking at and planning for retirement.  We spend so much time focussing our energies on making it to retirement that we don’t live enough in the present.  What is the point of planning for an event that may never come.   No, that doesn’t mean I’m cashing in my RRSPs, I just wonder how I can refocus my life to ensure that I live it equally in the present and future.  Maybe we just become to complacent.  That being said, I have always prided my self on the fact that I am always changing things up in my career and working toward new opportunities.  Perhaps it is the fact that our profession and others like it are fraught with new stresses from the demands that are being placed on us.  Be innovative, get graduation rates up, create positive school cultures-all with little or no support or resources.  I know that my good friend Cole was feeling many of those pressures before he retired.  Like many of us, his body was fuelled by pure adrenaline until he stopped working.  Perhaps it is that moment when we halt the insanity that our bodies realize what a toll the career has taken.  The lucky ones, those whose bodies are still strong enough to repair themselves transition well.  The unfortunate ones, like Cole, do not.  When I became a teacher, I never dreamed of being anything else and really, I still don’t.  That being said, I don’t want to end up like my dear friend and miss the opportunity to see my grandchildren grow up…


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