As I prepare to complete my 9th and final year as an educator at an international high school and enter ‘retirement’ from the profession in a traditional sense, teaching will always remain a part of my identity. As an intercultural trainer who helps schools and individuals with transition, I’m now embarking on my own transition and I’m reminded of the challenges I experienced upon my arrival to my first international school. See my blog titled ‘Top 6 Challenges…’ to learn more about those.
I’ve been reflecting on the book Safe Passages by Doug Ota (2014), which I highly recommend for anyone experiencing a transition, which talks about arrivers becoming stayers and stayers becoming leavers. I’m now a leaver. Ota suggests in order to make your next transition, you must say a proper ‘goodbye’ in order to say a proper ‘hello’. I’ve wondered how to say this proper goodbye with the current situation due to the covid-19 pandemic. I had plans for going away drinks with my colleagues and celebrating Leigh who is retiring this year, Katie and Nate who are returning to the States, and saying a proper goodbye to so many other treasured colleagues. Perhaps at this moment, we’re left with the option of a Zoom party to help us close this chapter as colleagues. It’s important we still engage with rituals that help us move onto the next chapter of our lives in order to help the stayers make room for those transitioning into the work environment and to help us leavers process and begin navigating our new transition.
Ota, D., 2014. Safe Passage How Mobility Affects People & What International Schools Should Do About It. Great Britain: Summertime Publishing.