41 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2015 5:42 AM by MyR Community Manager

    What's your 'secret life'?

    MyR Community Manager

      Are you familiar with the NPR series Secret Lives of Teachers? NPR is profiling teachers around the country who have a 'secret life' outside of the classroom. From hobbies and passions -- such as building classical guitars, running marathons and participating in roller derby-- to part-time jobs on the side, these people are a lot more than just educators.


      I love this idea and it got me thinking about our community and members:


      What are your secret lives? If you're still working, what are you doing outside of your 9-5 job? If you're retired, what makes you different from the conventional retiree?


      Share by clicking Reply below. Feel free to include images, links, videos, etc. Whatever will bring your story to life!

        • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
          BoBraxton

          I was in seventh grade when my teacher, noticing my very high California achievement test scores (mathematics) put me to the side of the room during math instruction and handed me a high-school Algebra book, which I used to do independent study. For the Alamance County "science" (and math) fair, she allowed me to submit a scale drawing of the house where I lived, My father had built this house in 1948. He also taught me at a very early age how to read a carpenter's folding rule (16ths of an inch) and how to read a blue print. Something I do (besides tiny rectangular poems) is to make scale (architectural / building) drawings and I use cereal box cardboard to make scale model(s).

          • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
            JerryD

            While young, I was pretty serious about music. Foolishly, I thought that I could do that. Then I discovered how hard you have to work to be even acceptably good. I was NOT good enough and probably would have suffered greatly in the struggle and lifestyle trying to make that top couple of percent range needed for success.

             

            BUT, I have a lasting love of most music, some more than others. While others may be saying (hint: "spouse") that I am just wasting time on the PC, I am also continuously listening to music that I love. Pandora has SAVED me!!!   :-)))

            • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
              JAJCARRO

              I retired in 2012 from a position as a research associate professor at a major university which involved obtaining competitive grants from the U.S. Department of Education and then directing those teacher training/curriculum development projects.  The grant sources finally ended in 2012 after 29 years and my colleague and I then obtained some smaller state grants that end this spring.  One day I received an e-mail inviting me to teach undergraduates at a Chinese university in the summer of 2015 and although the pay is nominal, I am now planning to teach 2 courses this summer, with paid airfare and hotel next to the campus.  I am excited at age 70 for this opportunity to see China (Fridays--Sunday are free time) and I believe there are still some openings at some of the programs 5 universities for this summer, so reply with your contact info if interested in details.   Jim

                • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                  BoBraxton

                  A younger friend practiced law in NJ for a decade or more, then decided to learn Mandarin. This is about his third year in China and currently (most recently) he is (will be) teaching on behalf of a university based in New England. I think he likes this immensely.

                    • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                      JAJCARRO

                      Hi BoBraxton--So your friend will be teaching at a university in China?  Is it a summer course such as I am doing?  Then he will continue to stay in China?  My main apprehension is very limited experience with Chinese food--only a few sweet and sour dishes which is really American food.

                        • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                          JerryD

                          We eat out at least once every week as part of our entertainment as well as not having to cook that night. We looked for years for an authentic Chinese restaurant down here where most people like sugar in everything even when the ethnicity does NOT require it. We finally found one that had more Asians than Caucasians eating there and they even had a separate 2-page menu that they gave to them. We asked for that menu and through many trips trying to sort through their limited English, we have found some excellent choices. We also have a lot of Thai restaurants here, more than Chinese ones, but they do tend to add more sweetening to food although you can suggest otherwise or avoid those choices.

                           

                          We have finally come down to a process of discussing the menu choices with the waiter as best we can, telling them our dislike of sweet foods and our tolerance for hot. Some authentic Chinese foods can be very hot if they include their special peppers.  Just tell them that you want it medium, say, and then go up or down in future trips according to your preferences. Ask friends, especially native Asians and/or well-traveled types, to recommend authentic Chinese restaurants so that you can experiment and develop your own personal choices. If you end up in one that is expensive, you have probably ended up in a Caucasian trap.

                           

                          When I first got a job in a major US city, I worked with a number of Asian and Asian Indian people. Going with them is a great way to develop your likes and dislikes and even to learn how to appreciate things you might never try by yourself. I was always impressed when the pretty Chinese girl immigrant would speak directly to the waiter in Chinese and when the food came she would pick off her food from the lazy Susan in the middle of the table with her chopsticks.

                           

                          By the way, my spouse and I almost always try to order all dishes at Asian and even at Italian and catfish-type restaurants so that we can share. This involves a discussion and compromises but after years there are very few things that one likes and the other does not. This allows us to try many more things and to discuss our opinions based on first-hand information. Eating at new places is one of the joys in life!!!!  ENJOY!!!!!    :-)))

                            • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                              JerryD

                              Made another trip to Tulsa. (WHERE???? Oklahoma! Oklahoma! ) We love that medium-size city. After living for decades in a major city where just driving in a BIG suburb can be a challenge, it is wonderful place to get around in. They have some excellent restaurants with a number of ethnic places favoring English/Irish/Scottish food - pubs, I guess. Ever have a Smitty's (Smithwick ale) along with the lunch fish and chips? 

                               

                              Whereas, Germain food is OK, I don't usually select one when the stay is limited. We found one (it may be Austrian - who knows what the borders are today) way down in the southeast suburbs (think about the major tornado a year or two ago there) that was not only an excellent restaurant with a very helpful waitress but they also had a fabulous meat market. Spent a bunch loading up on sausages which I shouldn't eat to take home.

                               

                              Speaking of markets with associated restaurant, there is one (pretty humble looking from the outside) up near the airport in the northeast that has scallops so big, you might thing you got served a mini-steak. Fabulous! They have all types of fish entrées and you can mix them or share.

                               

                              We have been in a number of medium size cities, but Tulsa is a real joy for us. It has almost any restaurant you want and the medical facilities are tremendous. They also have a new river walk that stretches for 5-6 miles with original sculptures. Saw Michael Buble at their downtown theater for a major anniversary. Hate to say this about a Canadian (No! No! Just kidding! Love those Cannucks!) but don't ever miss an opportunity to see this sassy Frank Sinatra. He does fabulous shows! And there are some areas where the old and beautiful homes of oil barons built in the 30's just go on and on. We thought that the signs outside were "For Sale" signs but almost all are the name of the renovator redoing the place. Not many are for sale, and the starting prices, although modest compared to elsewhere in big cities, are way beyond my pay grade.

                               

                              So, explore those towns you travel to. You may be really surprised.  ENJOY!!!!!   :-))))

                            • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                              BoBraxton

                              continue to stay - in China - with the exception that recently he visited where his parents live, Kenya, for about a month or two months or more, now headed back to China (he likes).

                          • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                            MyR Community Manager

                            Wow, JAJCARRO, what an amazing opportunity!

                            • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                              JRSchultz

                              Hello,

                              Would love to learn more about teaching in China.

                              Thanks,

                              JRSchultz

                                • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                  JAJCARRO

                                  The students are Chinese undergrads who are enrolled full time during the academic year in U.S. colleges and universities.  When they go home for the summer, they take courses taught by American college faculty (I was at Syracuse University).  I will be teaching 2 courses at Qingdao University (Qingdao is a city of 3.5 million people).  The pay is less than most adjunct salaries in U.S. but they pay for flight and hotel next to campus and I teach Mondays through Thursday and a TA does the classes on Fridays, so I have a long weekend to travel or relax at the nearby beaches on the Yellow Sea.  The program to which I belong still has some openings so e-mail me directly at jcarroll@syr.edu for more details.  They have partnerships with 6 or 7 universities throughout China.   Dr. Jim Carroll

                                    • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                      JerryD

                                      We have a neighbor women whose husband is an agriculture professor at the university. She regularly teaches English to Chinese students here. Since she is active in her church, I understand that she uses the Bible as one of her resources. I believe that she has made mission trip(s) to China in the past, as well as to Europe. But this time her husband got a year sabbatical to go to China and she packed up and went along. I imagine that that kind of trip is a fantastic opportunity to really know the people and for me to get some real "Chinese food".

                                • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                  tmiller99

                                  I retired this year (age 65) after 35 years in education (teacher, then principal, then professor) and after lots of processing with my husband about the next few years, we decided to sell our home and possessions in the Midwest and travel a bit until we found a place to help us with downsizing.  That process took some time, but by the end of September, we loaded a few things we had left and started on our way.  We traveled through Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and ended up in southwest Florida (Fort Myers). We rented for a month in Naples while we looked for a permanent location and found a 2 bedroom 2 bath condo in a 55+ community in Fort Myers.  It's very nice and very affordable and in a good location (close to the airport and the beaches and all the sights).  We had to start all over on possessions but have determined to be minimalists this time and only get things we really need and will use.  So we furnished the condo with a visit to a local furniture store and in 3 hours had all we needed.  We are gradually meeting new people and exploring our surroundings.  We believe that we are learning daily and are definitely out of our comfort zone, but it feels good.  We had lots of visitors since our arrival and they have all congratulated us on making this brave move!

                                  • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                    cbslc

                                    I'm taking mixed martial arts classes. Its surprisingly mentally grueling, memorizing the moves and planning offenses and defenses. Sort of like getting back into chess, but with more bruises and muscle soreness.

                                    • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                      djwoods

                                      I retired in 2004 as a music professor.  Since then, I've tutored 1st graders in reading a half day each week and volunteering at our local library.  Since 2007 I've been making wood toys, cutting boards, boxes, etc., and selling them on Etsy.com.  It's been a great "break-even" hobby.

                                      • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                        Sue

                                        I am a widow still working with about 3 more years until I plan on retiring.  I have two passions that I have turned into businesses.  The first is dog agility.  Started with my first dog back in 2003 and I quickly fell in love with the sport.  My late husband and I traveled all over the country to events and it gave me the confidence to carry on once my husband of 35 years passed away.  I recently opened a dog training business on a part-time basis, giving seminars and classes.  I plan to put up a building on my property and officially open my business within the next year.

                                         

                                        Just recently I opened an internet marketing business that partners with 1,000's of store in a virtual mall that pays up to 50% true cash back on every purchase made through the portal.  Just recently we launched what is referred to as a "shopping annuity" that has allowed families to take the money they are already spending and turn it into savings that add up over time.  Too many families now a days are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot save for their retirement nor do they have jobs that offer pensions.  It feels so good to be able to help people all over the country and actually in other countries.  I am in awe of the power of the internet.

                                         

                                        Here is a video of my Vizsla Blaze in action:

                                         

                                        MACH Blaze - YouTube

                                        • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                          taconner

                                          For many years I was a soccer & basketball referee in competitive leagues & high schools in three different states. I spent an unbelievable number of hours becoming physically & mentally prepared for those instant calls you had to make as well as attending clinics, state tournaments and sports camps. You develop great camaderie with your fellow referees when you must drive long distances to officiate at a high school or in a tournament in some remote part of the state & I miss that. I was involved year round & besides making a few dollars kept myself in great physical shape. Unfortunately, I had to have knee surgery on both knees & my left knee never fully recovered & I could no longer make the stop, turn & go moves without pain & eventually had to quit. I tried officiating other sports like volleyball & baseball that do not require such physical effort but either did not enjoy them or was not very effective. When I watch a sporting event I still view it from the officials' viewpoint & hate to see so much instant replay taking over the games. I still maintain a good workout schedule but any cardio work is limited to a bicycle or swimming which don't bother the knees.

                                          • Re: What's your 'secret life'?
                                            Lightlady

                                            I started a website six years ago because I wanted to share my 50 years experience as an artist and art instructor.  A New York Times article was recently published about my website and digital art learning.

                                             

                                            http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/20/education/not-digital-art-but-art-learned-digitally.html?_r=0


                                            I produce on the average of two videos a month as a partner with YouTube. These videos feature art demonstrations for the art lessons on my website or cooking demonstrations for my cookbook "Pop It In The Toaster Oven."  My channels are called "Palate and Palette."


                                            I receive royalties on my cookbook and get paid by Google for the ads I place on my website.


                                            I also teach art classes in Wilmington, NC and am a working artist.


                                            FYI--I am 72,


                                            Lois DeWitt