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I loved being an Educator. I taught 1st, 3rd, 5th-8th grade and spent about 15 years teaching math. Coaching new teachers was both challenging and rewarding and it kept me current. I felt like I was doing important work, and I was proud of what I had accomplished during my career. I was fortunate to retire at age 55 and came to Oregon from California in 2018. I left the workforce with a sense of excitement about what was ahead. I had so many plans and happily planned to do “nothing” as well. Perhaps in addition to COVID and perhaps because of the fire in 2020, I felt a bit of a void. I was withdrawn and depressed. I read in an article by Stephanie Wilson for WebMD entitled The Emotional Shock of Retirement. Leaving work can strip away your sense of purpose and self-worth, and I can relate. Flash forward and I started substitute teaching at the small elementary in the canyon. I went from having 180 students on my case load to subbing at a school with 300 students all together. I subbed once a week or a few times a month and had plenty of room in my schedule to do normal retirement stuff. It was a good balance. I got a call from the principal at the elementary and she was desperate for a 4th grade teacher to finish the year because the teacher had left with little to no warning. I took the weekend to think about it, but I knew I would say yes. In February, I became a full time, 4th grade teacher. It has been more challenging, time consuming, rewarding and emotionally draining than I expected. I am only under contract until June and even though they would like me to work full time again next year, I will not. I miss hanging out with my friends and staying up late. I hate bringing work home after working from 7-5, but I do love my students. I think I’m truly ready to “retire,” this time. Lately, I haven’t been able to attend the Guild programs and I appreciate all the support and help members have given me during my absence. Me going back to work has made more work for my Guild friends and I am blessed they have been willing to help while I go back to being an educator. I am proud to be a member of Mid- Valley Quilt Guild.

Tami Llewellyn, Co-President