Back in 1972, when I was still a teenager, Alice Cooper had a hit with School's Out. Today our local schools broke up for their long summer holidays too and for once I found the lyrics of that song invading my thought processes as I was attempting to use up yet more of our gooseberry glut, baking muffins and crumbles.
Yes I have stepped down as a School Governor after almost twenty years. I confess it was something of an impetuous decision as I have after all found the role over the last year perhaps more satisfying than during my working days when I sometimes struggled to give it the time that it deserved.
Visiting school and attending meetings have also provided an opportunity in retirement to wear those suits that continue to hang in my wardrobe. A desire to don heels and dress up, however, is hardly a legitimate reason for public service.
Yes theoretically I have more time, but, in practice and without the routine of a working week, I am less able to commit. I have, of course, enormous respect for those who replace salaried employment with a timetable of volunteering but it doesn't fit with my life, just yet. There are so many other distractions in retirement and when for instance Mister E and I are away travelling my psyche (like that of most women) is to feel guilty if I can't make a meeting. Yes the emotional side to commitment of any kind is always high. Caree's retirement, however, does not allow space for negative thinking and I have therefore determined to banish guilt and worry at all costs.
In addition, whilst both the eldest and the youngest may still be in full time education, their school days are now firmly behind them and my own personal and inherent connection through them with pedagogy has lapsed. Volunteering in any capacity requires a desire to make a difference and I felt that without that link both the desire and ability were significantly reduced.
There are many skills that I acquired during my professional life that have proven of use as a School Governor, for instance: reading, understanding and analysing information from the vast array of paperwork that governors are required to peruse; asking the necessary critical questions; chairing tribunal sub-committees. I am aware too that some of my fellow governors have almost made careers out of their office and that their experience and expertise are invaluable in the cohesive continuation of a Governing Body. Nevertheless, it was never my intention to become indispensable and, whilst I shall remember the role with fondness, a little like leaving work, it is time to move on.
Our local council publishes a list of volunteering opportunities and out of interest I have looked at it. There are some roles that are totally flexible, so maybe just maybe I might consider volunteering for one of those in a few months. For the moment though "School's Out for Summer."