‘Empty nest syndrome’ is something that affects many parents. When their children leave home, they suddenly become unsure of what they should be doing. Having spent the last 18 or so years caring for someone almost constantly, now there is no one there, and that feeling can cause big problems when it comes to mental health and happiness.
Teachers are perhaps luckier than most at this time of their lives; they already have many skills that can be used after their children have left home. The key is to find new and exciting things to do with your life that your teaching training can help you with. You’re still a parent, just not one that needs to be with your children all the time, and that means you can do all the things you wanted to but didn’t have the time for before. Here are some ideas to add to your list.
When you have some more time to do exciting, different things, you might consider retraining as a different kind of teacher to the one you are now. You can now go to evening classes, or perhaps start working part-time to accommodate your training. You can even learn through the internet if you can’t go to a physical class – if you want to teach English as a foreign language, for example, you can obtain an ESL Master’s Degree online, and there are many other choices too.
Now is your chance to change careers, or aspects of your career, and do something different, and that’s an exciting, freeing prospect.
Traveling is a wonderful idea, and something that is accessible to all. Where have you always wanted to travel to? Now is your chance – your children are happy and safe in their new homes or away at college, so why not head off on the adventure of a lifetime? Thanks to technology, you can easily stay in touch with your kids when you’re out of the country so you really don’t have to worry and you can go to lots of fascinating new places.
You might even choose to move abroad to teach, at least temporarily. Again, gaining a qualification in teaching English as a foreign language will be hugely useful, and since you already have many of the skills required, it should be easier for you to transfer across thanks to your experience.
You might find that you have more spare time and you just don’t know what to do with it. In that case, you could think about volunteering. There are sure to be organizations near you that need help in all kinds of ways, including teaching. You might choose to help underprivileged children get an extra chance at education, or start an after-school club that focuses on different subjects each week.
If you are nearing retirement age or can afford to take some extra time during the week to do these things, you might even be able to work on a part-time basis and incorporate your volunteering into your schedule more easily.
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