I can’t be the only one thinking a little bit more about retirement these days.
When looking at lists of pending retirees in recent years (both within AISL and at my school) , I have been taken aback by the increasing number of people listed whom I consider mentors. It really does seem like yesterday when I first met them, had the pleasure of learning alongside them, and began seeking them out for guidance and direction. These librarians and teachers have had a seminal effect on my growth, largely professional but in many ways, personal. I focus on being happy about someone’s planned retirement while feeling something akin to distress.
So – where to from here?
Theorist Donald Super offers these 5 stages of self-concept & career development:
I wish I’d seen this a couple of years ago when I was flummoxed by the plateau I was feeling; I now realize that it was the stagnation noted in the Maintenance stage.
Almost 20 years into librarianship, I have been fortunate to be involved with some major tasks: three LMS migrations, the revitalization of a school library program, a renovation and integration into our new school commons, and much technological transformation. I firmly believe that our school deserves dynamic people at the helm, and my diminished emotional state was making me question whether or not I should be passing the torch.
Fortunately, by this time last year, I seemed to have gotten my rhythm back. Just in time for the pandemic – ironic, but also timely, and it has provided opportunity for creativity and innovation in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
I’m going to embrace being at the Maintenance stage: holding on to what is serving my students well, updating what needs to be refreshed, recognizing feelings of stagnation if they return but aiming to push past them by continuing to innovate.
I’m also going to work finding a new word for the 5th stage: “Decline”, my posterior. It’s clear Super never met a KARL 😉