There’s something about summer.  As a child, it had endless possibilities.  As a teen, there began the anxiety of planning for the coming school year. And as a teacher, this anxiety combined with excitement, beginning with the first “Back to School” ads at the end of July.

This is my first year since I was five that I am not returning to school in September. I will be teaching one day per week at Ontario Tech University, but the rest of the time will be my “dissertation time”, as it has been for months now.

You’d think that this would mean I am able to get so much done!  But that is not the case. Each day takes me back to my childhood, and the endless possibilities present much more compelling options than coding interviews in Nvivo, or drafting my literature review.

There’s also the “how are you enjoying retirement?” questions, with an expectation that I have been filling my days with all those things that I couldn’t do as a teacher or administrator. This would be easy to answer if I actually had things on my “bucket list” that I hadn’t already tackled.  But, every summer since I can remember, I have used my summer vacation to make music, quilt, catch up with friends, and relax my calendar- and clock-watching.  This has built a habit of play during the summer months, a habit that is not serving me well at all. This year I have a dissertation to write, and it doesn’t have the real deadline that the return to school served for me in past years.

So, despite being retired, and no longer having to prep for the new school year, I am actually getting less accomplished than I did when working full time. I think I need to add some structure, through goals and a routine.

Here are my goals for the next month, to be ready for September:

  1. Complete the “in vivo” coding of my 26 interviews.
  2. Ensure that I am truly using the language used by the teachers I interviewed to develop my themes. (Not just those that I have read in my literature review, and been talking about on Twitter.)
  3. Try out “in vivo” coding of my literature, looking for connections to the language that emerges from my interviews.

If I can get this far in the next five weeks, then I should really be able to begin writing in September, when I am hoping that my goals will align with the world around me as everyone heads back home from the cottage, and back to school.

Do you have any advice for me, to help wean me away from the self-regulation support that working in a school provided?  Message me @terrywhitmell or!