As Grade 8 English teachers Ms. Sarah Venus and her partner, PE teacher Ms. Kate Newns, prepare to retire, they reflect upon their experience as teachers in locations all over the world including Dubai, Phukrt, Bangalore and Cairo. Together, they are starting a new chapter in their lives filled with traveling, gardening and going outside their comfort zones.
“I want to spend as much time with my partner as I can,” said Ms. Venus. “The very first thing, the following day [after school ends], we’ll be driving down to pick up a camper van that we’ve ordered so that we can start going on some adventures.”
“I want to spend time outside; I love the outdoors,” Ms. Newns said. The couple also intends on planting fruits and vegetables at their new home in Dorset in the English countryside. Their first plants are going to be courgettes so they can use their crops for cooking too.
“It’s not so much retiring as it’s going into what we’re calling a new stage of life,” said Ms. Venus. It will be a time of exploring new challenges such as “trying not to know what day it is,” and earning money while not having jobs anymore.
Although Ms. Venus has had a long teaching career, her first training session was difficult and nearly prevented her from starting a teaching career. “Initially, I wasn’t sure if [teaching] was the right move for me…I nearly walked out, actually, during my first teacher training program,” said Ms. Venus. “I didn’t think I was good enough.”
But eventually, she transferred her love of literature into a love of teaching and watching kids learn and grow. At ASL, Ms. Venus has taught only grade eight, but in her previous jobs, she taught grades six through twelve as well.
Ms. Newns has also enjoyed watching her students grow up and being able to know them from when they are in lower school all the way up to high school and their adult life. She likes the fact that some of what she taught her pupils could have shaped where they are today.
Ms. Venus is both sad to leave teaching but looking forward to experiences the future holds. “I know it’s going to be with very mixed emotions that I leave at the end of the year. I’ve got an amazing team that I work with here in grade eight,” said Ms. Venus. “But, you just don’t know what the future holds.”
After school has finished, they are aiming to try new things: garden, bake, and live in the peaceful countryside.