Semi-retired suits former headteacher

Q: What was your situation when you retired?
After a teaching career lasting 40 years, nearly half of which I spent as a headteacher of a mixed comprehensive, I reached retirement age. I was just over 60 at this point, and I was already trained as an external advisor to governing bodies. I was also trained as a threshold assessor to those teachers who reached the top of the pay scale.

Q Did you retire in one fell swoop?
My governors had the foresight to see that I would be ill at ease putting away the tools completely. How right they were! I was invited by my local university to undergo training to assess overseas-trained teachers who want to teach in the UK. It was a rich and interesting portfolio of work which meant, for the first time, I had the choice of extended holidays during term-time.

Q: What was difficult about semi retirement?
A: Working on my own came as a bit of a shock after 40 years of working within a team, and I had to learn fast. I’m lucky now because I’m also part of a team as a course trainer for the Teachers’ Retirement Agency - a job which I feel more qualified to teach as each year passes.

Q: What’s good?
I love being my own boss. I love being able to combine work with pleasure. I did move away from the school environment but I am still teaching only to adults this time. Best of all, there are no discipline issues. With hindsight, I can think of nothing teachers need training for more than retirement.

Q: What else changes with retirement?
It is worth thinking about changing relationships. Who will you see more often? My children thought once retired I would want nothing more than to change nappies several times a week. Now I am a globe-trotting, cappuccino drinking, emailing grandma and I practically explode with happiness spending time with my grandchildren. On the health front, I take advantage of every health check going. I try to exercise regularly by walking, swimming, cycling and horse-riding.

Q: What about financial provision?
I’ve sorted all the crucial but boring things like wills and considered the implications of long-term care costs. Don’t look for me in a nursing home, though. I fancy the idea of that American lady who sold everything she had and negotiated a long-term senior discount on the QE2. Room service, sea view, shows every night, meeting new people every 7-14 days - now that’s the way to do it.

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