I’m Still a Teacher

Photo Credit to Sani Anas on Pexels

The other day it dawned on me that it’s already been five years since my wife and I retired. I taught 31 years in grades 2-6, and my wife was a preschool teacher and then became director of the same preschool. I’ve volunteered a few times each year at my old elementary school when my former colleagues needed a little extra help with something, but since Covid began, they haven’t called. I understand that; it’s a new world.

One of the reasons I liked teaching was I loved being around children. In a lot of ways, I’m still a big kid. I was that teacher who enjoyed running around with his class at PE time. When we played a game, more often than not, I was a part of things. It was one of the ways I bonded with my class. Having fun with my students? It was one of the things I looked forward to each day. A classroom is more than a place to learn academics. It’s a place to create a love for learning and teach life lessons.

I had planned on teaching three years longer than I did, but I had to listen to my body. One fault of many teachers is we are so busy looking after our students that we sometimes forget to look after ourselves. We try to do it all, and without stopping to realize it, our health begins to suffer. As much as I loved my students, I had to relearn to love myself.

A few years back, I was lying in bed for the third Christmas in a row, and I realized I needed to make some changes, or I wouldn’t be around. That’s not hyperbole—I was a candidate for a heart attack. The pounds kept creeping on over the years, the stress was always there, and I was running myself ragged until I’d get sick and was out for prolonged periods.

My last day of teaching back in 2016.

Near the end of that school year, I told my class that I was going to retire. To see the sadness on some of their faces still brings tears to my eyes, thinking about it. They cared about me in the same way that I cared about them. “Why are you retiring, Mr. Springer? What are you going to do?”

One of my strengths as a teacher was my honesty with my students. I always tried to “keep it real” with them. I said, “I have to start taking care of myself. Someday I’m going to be a grandpa, and I want to be around to enjoy my grandchildren.”

One child asked, “But what will you do when you’re not playing with your grandchildren?”

I grinned, imagining my future. “I think I want to write books for children like you.”

“You could do that,” said one of my brightest students enthusiastically. “Think about all the plays we’ve done this year.”

One of the things I tried to teach my students was to show them that writing was more than just putting words down on paper. It was a way to communicate, bring joy, be silly, entertain, and yes, it was another avenue to teach.

When it came time to write in class, I wrote with my students. I wanted them to know that I looked forward to writing, and I started to notice a change in them. Instead of kids asking, “How much do we have to write?” as if the task were like eating Brussel sprouts, they began asking questions such as, “Can we write about this?” It was pure magic to a teacher’s ears. 

I wrote many plays over the years. They were often silly, and I usually wrote a part for myself into each skit. What could be more fun than having students pretend they were a principal or teacher while I played the role of the lazy, pouty, or difficult student? Embedded in those plays were lessons about honesty, perseverance, kindness, or empathy. Quiet and shy children became performers, often surprising their classmates and themselves with how acting allowed them to find qualities from within that they didn’t know they possessed.

Many people who know me today are surprised to learn that I used to be one of those quiet and withdrawn students. When I discovered my calling as a teacher, I never forgot that lesson. Public speaking empowers us; it makes us feel good about ourselves. Once we overcome that fear, we are emboldened to conquer other challenges.

The reason I’m thinking about this today is I’ve met one of my long-awaited goals. Tomorrow I’ll begin querying agents for my first middle-grade novel, Second Chance Summer, a contemporary story about a 7th-grade boy struggling with his parents’ recent separation.

After I retired, I wrote a book for future teachers—They Call Me Mom. I wanted to give back to a profession that had been so good to me. That book was never part of my plan, but it was something I needed to do. Writing a fictional 60,000-word story for middle grades required an entirely different skill set. I had a lot to learn, but I threw myself into it with the kind of work ethic passed on to me by my hard-working parents.

Anyone who has ever gone after a long-term goal can relate. There is a unique feeling of pride when we finish what we set out to do. I am typically a left-brained person who tackles most problems with logic. I had to take many steps to get to where I wanted to go from A to Z.

Step 1—Physical Needs I started exercising regularly. For the past five years, I’ve addressed that need. I’ve gone to the gym, walked countless miles, swam, ridden a bike, and played pickleball. Has it been easy? No, but it has gotten easier. I’m no longer that guy huffing and puffing up every hill. I’ve gone from 285 to 200 pounds. I’m confident that I’m never going back to my old self because I’m disciplined about exercise, and I’ve given up some poor eating habits. When I have a bad eating day, I don’t beat myself up. I get back to business the next day.

My parents never put importance on what their children looked like, but they always valued character. I’ve always tried to remember that lesson. That’s why I don’t look at losing weight as some great accomplishment. It’s merely a step to help me reach my long-term goals.

I’m proud of this recent photo not because it’s of me, but because it was taken by my former sixth-grade student, Breanne, who is following her photography dreams. One of the lessons I tried to teach my students was to pursue their goals. In that same vein, I’ve told Breanne this photo is going on the back of my children’s book.

Step 2—Emotional Needs I make the time to do things with the important people in my life. I’m an organizer, the guy who gets his friends together. I know how good that is for my soul. Writing is typically a solitary pursuit, but we can’t live inside a bubble. I make the time to gather with my friends because I know that brings me peace of mind. Spending time communicating and laughing with my wife is part of every day. Paying attention to one’s emotional needs is one of the keys to happiness. I spend a lot less time in front of the television, and I end each day by reading. Not only does that feed my emotional needs, but it also helps me fall asleep.

Step 3—Educational Needs After I settled on a goal, the next logical step was to think about how to get there. Great, you want to be a children’s writer, but what does that entail? Like any new pursuit, it involves a lot of learning. I took OLLI classes, joined SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), attended workshops, read lots of books about writing, found a writing critique group, started a blog, and began networking with other writers. I no longer wrote when I felt like it; I wrote something each day. I didn’t think of myself as a writer before, but now I do. I’m serious about this because I love it. I’ve learned to respect the process, and there is joy in learning.

It’s all been helpful and necessary. Am I done learning? Haha! That’s like asking a teen if he wants to hang out with his parents?

If someone takes motivation from my story, I will feel like I’ve accomplished why I wrote this post. Believe in yourself. Go after your aspirations with fearlessness. It’s much better to have tried than sit on the sidelines watching other people pursue their goals.

Anyone who has read my blog knows I frequently write about the importance of role models. I not only take wisdom and inspiration from those around me—it fuels me. Here are just a few of the many other people who have inspired me in one way or another in the past few years. I know many of them probably haven’t realized they were empowering me through their strength and determination.

My wife, Debbie, is one of the bravest people I know, living live to the fullest despite some health challenges.
Our son, Ryan, has followed his love for football the past sixteen years playing in junior high, high school, college, and now he’s a college football coach.
My goddaughter, Lindsay, who has followed her dream and will soon be on her way into medical school. I’m so proud of her for wanting to make a difference in the world.
My longtime colleague and friend, Lindy, with his wife, Mary. Lindy not only inspired me with his dedication as a teacher, but he has lost more than 100 pounds since he retired. Lindy now regularly takes 10 mile hikes with Mary. He also read my manuscript three times and offered so many helpful and insightful comments.
My last principal, Tami—one of the really good people in education. She has pursued her educational goals and is now a Superintendent. Don’t let that smile fool you. She is one tough lady who will be competing in her second Boston Marathon in October.

Will I feel like a failure if I don’t find a publisher? Absolutely not! I like learning, and there is reward enough in that. It’s not only about the finished product. I know this is still a long shot, but I’m giving myself the best opportunity. I wouldn’t say that I took shortcuts with my first book, but I have gone the extra mile this time. After a bunch of rewrites, going over my story twice with my fantastic writer’s group, gathering lots of feedback from other readers, and hiring professional editors (Thanks so much, Sirah and Jessica—you’re the best!), I am proud of the finished product. I feel like I’ve got a lot more stories to tell. After all, I am still a teacher. Now I’m adding a new tag—writer. I’ll wear those badges with pride.

128 thoughts on “I’m Still a Teacher

  1. Congratulations to your dream come true as a writer. You demonstrated to your students you could set your goals and achieved them. Retirement didn’t mean to sit still. We keep moving from doing one thing to another with higher to lower demands, restricted to flexible schedules. Good to see your daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 2:22 pm

      Retirement has definitely not been about sitting around for me. I’m a firm believer in the principle of active mind and body. We have to keep ourselves young, Miriam.

      My wife and I have one son. I think you must be referring to my goddaughter. She is one of those young people who give me great hope for the future.

      Like

      1. Yeah, I meant that beautiful young lady going to medical school.

        I think many boomers think and look and act as the young middle ages.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Best wishes with the query process. Remember to do the research and only query agents who represent authors in your genre. There is not an agent on Earth who wants to branch out into something new. For help in writing query letters, Jane Friedman offers some good tips. Here is a link to a good article. https://www.janefriedman.com/query-letters/ Also, plan on it taking longer than you thought to get some interest. Good luck.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 2:28 pm

      Thanks for the advice, John. I’ve been doing lots of research already because I want to work with the right person. I also understand it’s a time-consuming process. At one of the children’s writing conferences I attended, I learned that it is typically two more years to ever see your book in print, even if one is lucky enough to land a publishing deal. I’m realistic about the whole thing. I figure I’ll give myself 12-18 months, and if I can’t find any takers, I’ll self-publish. I’ve read all the pros and cons of each. I have taken inspiration from guys like you who started writing after they retired.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations! Once a teacher, always a teacher. That is a great picture your former student took of you. Perfect for your profile picture. Best of luck finding a publisher. I know you will.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 3:03 pm

      Thanks for your support, Darlene. I’ve been paying particularly close attention to people like you as you write for the same audience. I’ve told myself, again and again, to not rush things and respect the process. In the meantime, I’m pretty far into my next novel.

      I don’t know if this happened to you or not, but I read books in a much different fashion than I used to. Before, I mainly read for pleasure, and now I pay much closer attention to each author’s style and craft.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, that does happen to me. It sometimes interferes with my reading enjoyment. But we do learn a lot by reading other writers work. Sometimes we learn what not to do as well. Glad to hear you are working on the next book. Keep at it.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Losing 85 pounds may not seem like a great accomplishment to you but it is. With your high standards for accomplishment, I expect you will find great success in your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 3:11 pm

      I don’t take it for granted, and I’m proud of myself for having the self-discipline to stick with it. I made dozens of attempts before, but I could never stick with it. I freely admit it’s a lot easier to look after myself now that I’m retired.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A great idea to write alongside your pupils. And it is good for men to have a career teaching the younger children who need good male role models. Best wishes for the new book, writing for children is harder than for adults, but carries the privilege of introducing them to a love of books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 3:07 pm

      I think my books will be geared more toward boys. I saw one of my roles as a teacher was to be a role model. I have the same thought process when I’m writing. I envision taking real-life situations that I saw my students going through and incorporating them into my stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is good as my sons and other boys in senior school were less inclined towards fiction than the girls, though my younger son loved reading factual things so that was a way to get him to read. He actually loves audio books and podcasts on interesting things and now they are living with me I realise how much education he has picked up over the years of his own accord, despite not staying on at school, though he would be the first to admit he would have made life easier for himself if he had taken more advantage of school!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 3:33 pm

        One of the most interesting parts of teaching was to get a new set of children each year with different abilities and interests. Some came in as voracious readers, while others didn’t like to read (mainly because they weren’t that skilled at it yet.) It’s like any skill—falling off a horse isn’t fun but riding one is a blast.

        The fascinating thing was to find the right type of books for all of them. I taught students, much like your son, who thrived on non-fiction. Others chose fiction exclusively. My goal was to help them find something they enjoyed because reading became infectious once they found their niche.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow Pete, what a fantastic post. And so glad to hear about your new upcoming book. And I know what you mean about burning out and leaving ourselves last to take care of. So glad you reset your priorities and are enjoying the writing life now. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 3:16 pm

      It seems crazy not to focus on our own physical and mental health, but it’s easy to fall into bad habits. No job is worth sacrificing our health. I loved my life as a teacher, and I would do it all over again if I could with one change—to look after myself as well as I did my students.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You said it Pete. And hindsight is always 20/20 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved reading about your book. Keep up the ggodnwpok

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 5:49 pm

      Thanks, Norma. I’m giving this my best shot.

      Like

  8. pete, this is wonderful news. it’s clear, you’re a born teacher, whether playing with your students or writing with them, and now for them. they are many ways to teach. i wish you much success as your bravely navigate your way through this process and i have no doubt you will find it very rewarding in the end, no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 5:53 pm

      Thank you so much, Beth. It’s been such a long process, and I wondered at times if this day would ever come. It didn’t occur to me until I was partway through this process that this was my new way of teaching.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well done, Pete you are a shining example of how to live and love yourself …I’m sure you will find a publisher…Have a great weekend, Pete 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 8:01 pm

      I’ve moved into a new phase of my life, and I’m embracing the changes. Finding new passions and challenges is a good thing for any of us. Thank you for your support, Carol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Likewise, Pete I think we need to keep finding new challenges or we just go stale and the rot sets in 🙂 Have a great weekend, Pete x

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Congratulations on the successes with your new career. (You haven’t actually retired.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 8:05 pm

      I call it semi-retirement, John. I have the luxury of scheduling my own hours, and we’re not counting on the income. I’m just having fun trying something new.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And you are putting a lot of energy and thought into it. Way to go!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Such a positive and inspiring post, Pete! I am 100% convinced that you have touched many lives as a teacher, a friend, a husband, a father, a retired teacher, and an author! And you continue to do so. So much passion, confidence, and gusto is wrapped up in this story. Congratulations with the final draft of your fiction book and I’m keeping my fingers – and toes – crossed that a publisher accepts your manuscript. You’ve deserved it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 8:12 pm

      I consider myself a lucky man. I have always been able to connect with kids, and I hope that connection continues as I move into this next phase of my life. I see some of the same personality traits in you. We are not the type of people who settle or give 50%. It’s not in our DNA. You are one of the more interesting people I have met since I started blogging. Here’s to many more happy adventures for you and Mark.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the compliment and sweet sentiment, Pete. Oh, I see now that you are using the author photo taken by one of your former students as your WordPress avatar. Nice!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how you focused on communications skills like writing and speaking. I think many of my students would have benefited from having been in your class!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and best of luck with your new book!

      Liked by 2 people

    2. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 8:18 pm

      You know how we teachers operate, Jim. We take things from our own life experiences and figure a way to use them in the classroom or other areas in our life. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, and it’s refreshing to read about a person who respects and likes his employer. I think Villanova and your students are lucky to have you there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. in my case, I can tell stories about what not to do…

        and yes, I am lucky to be at a place like Nova that has a mission I am in sync with…

        Liked by 1 person

  13. As a person who needed to focus on mental and physical health upon retirement, I know how important your journey was. I know that it was not easy. I also know how how difficult it is to write a book. Your perseverance and attitude is awe inspiring. Your understanding that learning doesn’t end with retirement and your willingness to jump into new things with so much enthusiasm is something that I admire. You get to be both teacher and student at the same time. Good luck with the second book. I am looking forward to hearing updates on this venture.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 8, 2021 — 8:33 pm

      I believe we’re happier when we continue to learn and move forward in life. When we get in a rut and don’t continue to grow, then life becomes less interesting. I wouldn’t be happy in retirement if I were sitting around.

      I’ve enjoyed following your blog. You write openly and honestly about thought-provoking topics. I’ll continue to be one of your loyal followers.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Well done Pete for losing weight! Hope you have great success with your book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:23 am

      It took a lot of years to find what works for me as far as weight loss. Mostly, I have a lot of self-discipline and am dedicated about getting my exercise. Do you ever have physical problems with all of the biking you do? I worry some about my body hanging in there as so many people develop hip issues.

      Success is a relative term. Getting to the finish line feels like a win.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jogging gave me bad knees and so biking is the next best thing and less impact on the joints. We also go swimming every morning when we’re at the van.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. A wonderful post Pete and a summary of the last five years since you took early retirement to focus on you… You gave hundreds of children an amazing start in life that will influence their own children’s future which is an amazing legacy in itself. Now you can direct your energies to your healthand writing as well as your family as that expands.. no pressure on your son then lol.. I am sure with the work that has gone into your second book it will be a success whichever route you take with it eventually and you now have the support of the writing community who will be behind you every step of the way.. I will share in Tuesday’s blogger daily…enjoy your weekend.. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:30 am

      You have been a mentor since I started blogging. I’m especially grateful for all of your support and expertise, Sally. A couple of the most important lessons you’ve taught are the importance of networking with other writers and the importance of responding to every comment left on one’s blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Pete that is very kind.. I am not perfect but there is always someone who has been doing it longer who provides guidance..enjoy the rest of your weekend..xx

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I am so glad you made your health and welfare a priority and I congratulate you on the discipline and commitment that doing so takes. You look marvelous in that photo and it would be perfect for your book’s dust cover. That same discipline and commitment is what I feel assured will be the reason your book finds a worthy publisher. And if for some crazy reason you don’t, call me and we will start our own publishing company.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:34 am

      I appreciate all of your regular support, Brad. I may not be much of a poet, but I consider myself a good judge of character. You’re a good man!

      Haha! I like the sound of that. We can call it “A Couple of Schmucks Press.”

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Writing is quite fulfilling, especially writing for children! Hope we meet up at the library’s author festival someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:38 am

      That would be a kick for me, Pam. I’ve got to support someone with Humboldt roots. This year (Covid, sigh), we’re having a virtual festival. That sounds a lot less glamorous. I’d love to hear about your journey sometime.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Another fabulous post, Pete, full of honesty, achievement and optimism. I hope you find the publisher your book needs, and look forward to hearing about its success. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:44 am

      It’s not lost on me that blogging has allowed me to meet people from across the globe, Clive. I feel lucky to have met you and look forward to your musical posts each week. I learn something new each week.

      One of your most important contributions has been bringing more awareness to mental health. For that, you should be proud.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Pete, on both counts. I’ve found that same benefit from blogging, and feel similarly lucky to have met you – and many others.

        I think your second comment might be prescient…

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Another excellent article, Pete. I nodded along with you, recognizing much of what you said in my teaching experiences. I think when I read through the comments, I’ll find lots of teacher-authors who agree. I did leave the physical classroom but couldn’t quite remove myself from teaching so turned to the online schools. I’m pretty happy with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:48 am

      It’s great that you have found an educational path that works for you, Jacqui. I miss being around children, but writing feels like just a different way to teach. I find that part quite stimulating. Continued success moving forward, my friend

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Good luck! And you will always be a teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 8:50 am

      There’s no turning back now, Dorothy. There are a few teachers in the family, so I guess you can say it’s in our blood.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. What an inspiring post, Pete. I love that you shared your story. It inspires me to do and be better! I need to lose that last ten pounds!! Thank you for being that teacher!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 10:48 am

      I try to be that teacher. I am invested in my students’ lives and feel happiness and satisfaction when I see them doing well and doing something positive in the world.

      You’ve been at this a lot longer than I have and have built an excellent following. Congratulations on all your success, Jan!

      Ugh—those last ten pounds. In my case, I could still lose twenty. My main focus is not to start giving that weight back.

      Like

  22. Congratulations, Pete, I am delighted your book is finished and you are querying publishers. I wish you all the very best and the picture is wonderful and eye catching.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 10:51 am

      Didn’t Breanne do a great job with that photo? I like to tease her and tell her to remember me when she’s hit the big time.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She certainly is artistic, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. This is such an inspiring post. I feel blessed to know you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 3:32 pm

      Thank you for that comment, Liz. I feel like I know you well enough to know that you are wired the same way. I appreciate all of your great advice and commitment to writing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, Pete. Thank you for the compliment.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re an inspiration, Pete! Tears of joy are streaming for you, your students, your family, your friends, your readers. You rock! Sharing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 3:43 pm

      Aww, thanks for your enthusiasm. It’s nice to see goals come to fruition. As a former educator, Bette, I know you get it. We need to set a good example for our students.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Hurrah for you and your kind, Pete! I believe we are cut from the same cloth, a dyed in the wool teacher. I too loved the classroom and loathed the idea of retiring, except for the essay-grading. I felt the nudge too because I sensed less energy and also because of aging relatives who needed care.

    I returned to the classroom for one semester, and though my students begged me to stay on for freshman English II, I declined. Soon I was friending former students on Facebook and meeting another for lunch. Then came blogging and, eventually, a memoir.

    You are to be commended for keeping physically fit. I find Pilates helpful for flexibility and stress relief. Cheers to your writing goals. And best wishes as you query agents for your next book. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 3:51 pm

      I am glad to have met you through blogging, Marian. I enjoy reading a well-written memoir such as Mennonite Daughter. I’ve always wanted to learn more about the Mennonite culture and your book was both educational and entertaining. We, teachers, don’t have anything to apologize for in getting invested in our students’ lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Terrific, insightful writing – good luck with the book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 9, 2021 — 3:54 pm

      I appreciate the words of encouragement, John. When I sink my teeth into something, I can be pretty stubborn about not giving up.

      Like

  27. …and I’m still a learner!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 10, 2021 — 9:10 am

      Yes, and hopefully, that never stops. My best to and yours, Laura.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I’m sure it was hard to recognize that it was time to retire. Teaching is in your soul. But you’re just tackling it from another angle now Pete with blogging and your first and second book that’s in the works. That has to feel good!! I also forgot to mention that I read Mennonite Daughter on your recommendation and enjoyed it very much. I also have gotten to know Marian better too, so thank you for your guidance! And I love to learn as well. Congrats on your weight loss, your continued gifts in connecting to others.. and being at the querying stage too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 10, 2021 — 9:25 am

      One doesn’t have to hold a degree in education to know that it feels good to help others. It seems odd that it took me so long to realize that this was my new way of teaching.

      Perhaps it’s because I’m that old guy with too much time on his hands, but I find myself thinking about the wonder of how people from around the world happen to cross paths. Without blogging, I never would have met people like Marian or you.

      Speaking of taking inspiration from others, you give that gift by your openness in your battles with cancer. You are a fighter, and how can someone not respect that? Keep on enjoying life to the fullest, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Pete, that is very kind of you. If I helped one reader with a tip or honest, straight talk on what to expect with procedures (from a patient’s POV) then that makes me feel good. Really good. And speaking of technology helping people cross paths (and I agree about how fantastic it is to have conversations on a global scale with new friends) that attraction is what I had for my job at Legacy.com. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to have a soldier in Afghanistan leave a kind message on a guest book (a published book accompanying an obituary) to someone they knew long ago in Illinois. The power to connect on such a broad scale is a source of endless fascination to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 9:01 am

        Have you written about your time with Legacy? If not, I’m going to encourage you to think about doing so. I have to imagine those would be some powerful stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  29. Pete, this was such an inspirational post about turning your struggles into positives. Your blog has always served as inspiration for me to write better and dig deeper. I love that you pay tribute to those that have contributed to your learning throughout your journey. Hearing your path to becoming a confident writer is my take-away here. I find a lot of aspiring writers are nervous about taking that leap and even referring to themselves as a writer because of lack of confidence. The fact that you wrote two books (completely different genres) is a huge feat! You’ve really diversified your skill-set and that’s amazing! I’d love to hear your journey from beginning to end with your writing journey if you ever feel like sharing it on a post (from a small idea for a book to finally getting it published). I think this is something people would be very interested in seeing and reading about too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 10, 2021 — 4:59 pm

      I wish I could say that I always was this confident, self-assured person, Jen, but that’s not what happened. I try to be open about that because I think most people have things they fear trying. We’re great about talking ourselves out of things—it’s an affliction I’ve seen many times. Self-doubt is a huge inhibitor. Most of us can relate to those feelings. “What if I’m not good enough? What if I make a fool of myself? I don’t have enough time. Maybe I’ll do this somewhere down the road.” I had all of those thoughts and more at one time or another.

      There was no moment of clarity where I suddenly turned a light switch and suddenly decided to be braver. I think a lot of it happened when I became a teacher and felt not only a responsibility but an opportunity to set a good example for my students.

      Thanks for the suggestion about my journey, but there’s not that much else to say than what I’ve put out here. I’m not sure if you’re thinking about writing a book, but you’ve got the chops for it. This is not me giving you false praise. Your writing is excellent and entertaining. When I open my email notifications on Wednesdays, I absolutely look for your posts because I know it’s going to be either funny, stimulating, or thought-provoking. (Sometimes all in the same post.) No pressure there! 🤣

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Aww thanks, Pete. As a(n) [aspiring] writer, you’ve just made me whole life! I clearly struggle to call myself as such but I’ve gained so much more confidence in my writing bc of bloggers like you who believe in me and support my journey! ❤️🙏

        Liked by 1 person

  30. My goodness, Pete! This post is so wonderful I had to read it twice. It’s Life-101, or I should say Pete-101. You start at the beginning, with your love of children driving the boat. My deepest concern when I retire will be missing the children. I love how you handled telling them, and how you told them about writing a book. Perfect.

    OMG, plays!! See how much we have in common? This has been a favorite in my classroom forever. The difference is, I let children pick the parts and decide costumes, and what they want to say. Some guidance and structure from me + huge encouragement = children who feel good about themselves. We both know that’s what it’s all about. Kevin was the shy one. I let him pick his own dog costume, all he wanted to cut-out a tiny triangle out of card stock for a dog tail. No one noticed, but he did. Kevin walked tall and proud for that play performance. I know you have so many similar stories. It’s all about the children.

    Your pathway to where you are now is inspiring, Pete. Physical needs, then emotional needs, then educational needs. You took care of your health, then connected with friends and family in a big way, and finally focused on your book. You knew this was your calling, after teaching. I am so proud of you, Pete! More than you know. The work involved in writing a book is monumental. And, never give up. Never. If Kate DiCamillo had given up after 471 rejections, we would never have “Because of Winn-Dixie”. I rest my case.

    The support group you had for your book and retirement is terrific. I love the photos!! You must be very proud of your former student for capturing you perfectly. I enjoyed seeing your colleagues and family. I wish I were headed into Boston tomorrow for the Marathon. It would be wonderful to meet Tami. And one day, our paths will cross.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 10, 2021 — 5:10 pm

      I have a lot to say about you, but you’ll have to wait for my post. I know our educational system isn’t perfect, but one terrific thing is teachers like you who not only teach a classroom but all of the other people around them through their actions.

      Thank you for getting back to me with your answers to my questions. I don’t want to make any promises about when I’ll be done, but I’ll send you my article in the next week or so to verify that I’ve got my facts straight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I probably wrote way too much! Thanks so much, Pete. Your are ever-kind.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Pete, I wish you all the best with your queries for an agent. I will soon be tackling the same task myself (although different genre). I loved the upbeat vibe of this post and how you highlighted not only the changes in your own life but also spotlighted others who have made a difference in your growth. What a wonderful post!

    Cheering you on and wishing you much success. Congrats on that amazing weight loss (I’ve lost 32 pounds since the pandemic, and would like to lose 3 more to reach my goal). Also amazed about Lindy losing 100 pounds. Wow! It just goes to show what’s possible when people are dedicated to change.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor October 10, 2021 — 5:21 pm

      I believe we should always look for ways to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. It’s ignorant to feel jealousy for someone else’s success. The attitude should be, “If they can reach their goals, why can’t I?”

      Congratulations to you on all of your accomplishments, Mae. I’ve always believed it’s wiser to not reinvent the wheel. The main reason I follow other writers like you is to learn from those who have been doing this for a while. I wish you the best of luck as you pursue your own goals.

      Liked by 2 people

  32. Loved reading about all you’ve done in retirement, Pete – especially how you’ve got into such great shape, and you’re approach to writing. So well-organised! Toni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 8:44 am

      Thank you, Toni. I’ve been reading many books from other authors writing for middle grades lately. I know Brody Cody is on my Kindle, and I’ll get to it one of these weeks. I think it’s terrific that you’re writing for adults and kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Pete. Have a fantastic week!

        Like

  33. Bravo! Kids need teachers like you. I hope your book is published and reaches a wide audience of kids. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 8:48 am

      Thanks, Meeka. I am a realist about things like this, but I am also the type of person who doesn’t give up easily. By the way, as an educator, I appreciate your posts promoting science.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Persistence is a strength. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  34. Congratulations and good luck. You certainly are still a teacher! I also think of you as a role model for retirees as we follow in your footsteps. And, yes, we are loving it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 8:55 am

      I have retired friends who have taught me how to enjoy retirement. It’s about finding our passions. There are only so many years left for us retired folks. It doesn’t mean we need to start planning our funerals, but we should embrace the freedom retirement allows us.

      How are you enjoying your new city and home, Margie?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We absolutely love it, Pete! We are discovering new joys every day, and the hostages are just around the corner loving it too!

        Liked by 1 person

  35. What an inspiring post, Pete. You lift us all along with the children. I am sure you will find an agent who can connect you with a publisher that ‘gets’ you and your creativity. Much love to you all. ❤ Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 8:57 am

      Thanks for your kind words, Jane. I’m grateful to have met many other kind souls such as yourself through blogging. Love all of your positivity!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Thank you Pete for sharing your journey. To be there for others we most definitely have to be there for ourselves. We can all learn from and grow through each other. Congratulations with your writing and pursuing your dreams. You have a wonderful circle of support surrounding you but the most important thing is to support your daily. Stay inspired and keep rising, my friend 🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 9:06 am

      Thanks for reading, Syl. I try to surround myself with positive people who want to do their part to make the world a kinder and gentler place. Have a great week!

      Like

      1. You’re welcome. That right there makes a huge difference on our journey and mission to brighten this world. Will do, thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  37. Huge congratulations, Pete! On the book and on meeting your physical, emotional, social, and gratefulness goals (I added a couple in there because I think those describe you too). You’re a wonderful inspiration. I hope the querying goes well. I looke forward to reading your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 9:12 am

      Thanks, Diana. I am incredibly grateful for our blessings, especially connecting with other kind and compassionate souls like you. Much luck managing all of the stuff with your parents. I’ll leave it there because you are supposed to be starting your break, and you don’t need to be distracted by guys like me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha. I leave in a few days, Pete. I left myself a couple days to make sure everything is set before I go. Your comments are always welcome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Congrats Pete and wishing you all the best! Great title, its catching, leaving me wanting to know more. Keep the winning attitude, and Yes, you have already Won, in finishing the book! Now finding a publisher is icing on the cake! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 11, 2021 — 8:56 pm

      It’s nice to get to the finish line. I’m happy with the way it turned out. One of the keys for me was that I took the necessary time to get it right. I hope middle-grade students enjoy it as much as I think they will. It’s written more for boys, but a few of my female readers said they thought it would appeal to girls too.

      Like

    1. petespringerauthor October 12, 2021 — 12:32 pm

      How great to be included with Marcia, Debby, Carol, and John—four outstanding bloggers. My best to each of them and to you, Sally, for your constant support.

      Like

  39. Congratulations, Pete! The positivity zings off the page and I’m so impressed at what you’ve achieved through dedication, hard work and your talent as an educator and writer. Keep us informed of your progress with publishers and I hope you’re snapped up by someone who appreciates what you have to offer. Looking forward to reading your novel when it’s out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 12, 2021 — 6:29 pm

      If it doesn’t happen, I’ll be alright. Thanks for the compliments. My teaching style was about dedication and positivity. I’m carrying that over into my new life as a writer.

      I’ve enjoyed talking shop with you over the last year and look forward to your next book.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 8:50 am

      I appreciate the reblog, Michael. Enjoy the rest of your week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you very much, Pete! Another wonderful telling about your famous way of teaching. Have a nice rest of the week as well. xx Michael

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Wow! What a wonderful memoir, Pete! It is not over yet. 😉 You are on the best way becoming an institution in teaching with fun and sustainability. Gosh, just remembered your wife also was a teacher. A family full of teachers. Sometimes such a imagination can be horrible. :-)) Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 8:53 am

      As you well know, Michael, there are thousands of giving teachers out there making kids’ lives better in anonymity. I will always be a teacher at heart.

      Like

  41. The book that you are writing is truly needed by kids that age. They can really feel that no one understands their reality. They know that their parents were miserable(usually) but they really liked having both parents around. I look forward to reading it after you find an agent and a publisher.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 8:57 am

      Contemporary issues that kids face today are what I want to write about. Dealing with an abusive, alcoholic, or parent with a drug problem are issues some kids have to face day after day. It’s no wonder children can come to us with so much anger.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or shut down. I worry about those kids just as much. They seem to cause little trouble in the class but they are in just as much pain.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor October 15, 2021 — 1:12 pm

        Absolutely! That’s a huge problem too.

        Like

  42. What wonderful family and friends you have!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 10:10 pm

      I am a lucky man, GP. It’s not something I take for granted. Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. It says a lot about what a great teacher you were that when you told the class you were retiring they were sad – If you hadn’t made an impact on them, they would not have had such a reaction! I’m grateful you made changes to help your health and overall wellness. You are there for your family, pursuing your publishing goals, and enjoying retirement. Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 10:16 pm

      Success is a funny word. If a person earns a ton of money because of a particular talent but gives nothing back, I don’t see them as successful. Don’t you think we all have a shared responsibility to future generations? You are doing your part by bringing important issues to the table and empowering women. I respect what you are doing, Christy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, Pete, those words mean a lot to me. Thank you. I respect you a great deal as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  44. Aw Pete – this made me so happy! Yes, you are still a teacher and I learn so much from you even to this day (and we’re not spring chickens!) Just as many have inspired you, you are that someone for me. A wonderful friend who offers great support and advice, and someone who I trust to give me the straight scoop. Keep on teaching, writing, and continue to be the wonderful “you” that makes me laugh, snort and/or guffaw at your crazy reflections and insight. You have touched so many and the girls and I are happy to be part of that crowd!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 10:25 pm

      I feel the same way about you, my friend. It’s been quite a ride for our friendship all the way back to high school. Thanks for all of the laughs, as well as your ability to listen when I need to talk. One thing I most appreciate about you is your fearlessness to try new things. Who knew we’d one day be talking shop about teaching?

      I thought about sending this to Lindsay, but I decided not to creep her out. I’m not sure my students and other people always get me. What’s up with this old geezer?😂 I get invested in their lives, and it makes my heart full when I see them going for it.

      Like

      1. No need to send to her – I already did and she was touched beyond belief! She will be reaching out soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  45. Congrats on going after your goals, Pete. You are an inspiration to your family, students, friends, and me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor October 13, 2021 — 10:29 pm

      It’s been great getting to know you, Jacquie, and learning your thoughts about writing. Your piece the other day about homelessness was beautiful! If my buddies could only see me now—reading Jacquie Biggar romance novels. 😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

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