Life after teaching

Modelling retirement
“I first started teaching 32 years ago and finally ended my career as a faculty head in Croydon, Surrey. I’ve had a great time as a teacher.  There’s really no finer way to spend one’s time than helping to develop young minds. 

“I’ve always subscribed to the notion that everyone should have a passion; mine is modelling. Over the years I have built up a level of expertise and for a good few years have produced a range of military models for use in war games, which is my main interest.  I found a gap in the market for particular vehicles, so I decided to fill it myself. My friends visited, liked my models and asked if they could have one made, and so began the business.  I then saw a niche market for wagon loads for railways and have gone from strength to strength with that.  My wife and I visit a number of conventions and sell kits to the public.  I spend a lot of time collecting information and photographs.  I build the masters, construct the tools and cast reproductions.  It has taken me up and down the country and I have contacts the world over, even before the advent of the internet.

“My proudest moment was building models for our troops in the Falklands who were under attack by the Argentineans. It was touch and go as to whether we got them finished or had to go to Ascension to finish them off.  Pretty cool for a teacher, or so I thought at the time!

“The best way to keep active and sustain a healthy mind is to have a deep interest. I hope that the kits will continue to provide a small income and a diversion.  Man was born to create and I hope I leave an immortal legacy.  One of my kits recently sold on the web for over £200 which is daft as it would only have cost £25 if bought directly from me.”

Graham Baker, former faculty head of a secondary school

Space for DIY interests and play
“I began teaching in 1979 and for the last 15 years I’ve been a biology teacher in a sixth-form college.  I hope to be able to retire within the next five years, at the same time as my husband.

“One of our plans is to buy a small second-hand van. The idea is that we shall be able to do odd jobs for people such as painting and decorating, gardening, building flat-pack furniture – something I’ve always enjoyed and those bits of DIY that working people often don’t get round to. We’ve always worked well together and undertaken a variety of projects in our own home so we are willing to have a go at anything within our capabilities.  I’m a keen gardener myself and I’ve also turned my hand to building walls, terraces and a pond in my own garden, once we had demolished a double garage.

“We certainly don’t intend to spend all our time working.  Hopefully, there will plenty of travelling on the agenda and time to walk, cycle, play tennis and perhaps take up watercolour painting again. I will miss the stimulation of teaching – especially being with the students and my colleagues, but I’m definitely looking forward to making the most of new opportunities.”

Catherine Overend, biology teacher at a sixth-form college

Time for exciting new challenges
“I retired four years ago after 18 years as an ICT teacher in a primary school.  I should have guessed that my retirement would be outside the norm when, as a teacher, I was asked to coordinate netball for two year groups. I knew absolutely nothing about netball but I took up the challenge.  After taking good advice from my wife who is a PE teacher, I set to work.  For ten years running, we won the inter-school netball league.

“I think I love a challenge.  During the first year of my retirement, my wife and I entered a car challenge which involved purchasing a car for less than £100 and driving to Tashkent, in Uzbekistan.  We used our old family car which I had bought as a birthday present for my wife many years ago.  It had 130,000 miles on the clock and was worth around £100.  After a full service, we set off.  We travelled over 6,000 miles and reached our destination in six weeks, without a breakdown.  There were 18 cars that had set off on the same journey, but only 12 actually made it through. 

“One of the most exciting things we did along the way was to go hot air ballooning in Turkey.  The experience was incredible and a little scary   You could actually put your hand out to touch the rocks!

“At the end of the journey, the car was sold and proceeds went towards a children’s school in Uzbekistan.  The most rewarding part of it all is to see smiles on the faces of children who’ll benefit from the funds raised from the challenge.

“Never satisfied, I repeated te experience a few more times to Outer Mongolia and The Gambia.” 

Garry York, retired ICT teacher, from Darlington


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