Reconnecting - National Council of Teachers of English
Back to Blog


This is a guest post written by Ellen Shubich.

Ellen ShubichHaving retired a year ago after many years working as teacher, coordinator, and principal in private schools in Mexico City, I found that I was at a loss as to what to do with so much “free” time. I was 70 years old when I retired, still very energetic and restless, and I felt that so many years of experience should benefit someone somehow.

Luckily, I was reincorporated into the community life of the last school I had worked in when they asked me if I wanted to mentor a teacher who was doing a post-grad course. They also requested that I edit and revise their English publications. The combination of these part-time jobs and activities that I could now do (more exercise at the gym, biking, reading, visiting museums) filled this past year and kept me happy.

And then part-time became no time . . . with no one seemingly interested in my collaboration, no one knocking down my door seeking my educational wisdom (yes, thankfully, my sense of humor seems to be alive and well).

Enter those who would suggest.

Sir Ken Robinson might TED me that I should follow my passion. Educators might point out my strengths and encourage me to develop them. My Hey Bookies (members of our miraculously long-lasting Book Club) would probably tell me to stop reading so much because the books I have recently recommended don’t seem to have inspired them at all.

And then I surfed into a TED talk by John Green. He revealed how “left out of learning” he felt when he graduated from school and joined the real world. Aha! Something I have experienced since I no longer mingle with those in an educational environment. What reconnected him to the stimulation and curiosity and learning that good schooling provides was the discovery of blogging, the option of exchanging information with experts, and resources on the net. He became a fan of YouTube and the teaching/learning it offered, the opportunity to make comments that received responses. His intellect was reignited.

So I have taken his idea to both head and heart. During the past retired year I spent a great deal of time reading articles on education, watching webinars, attending talks. But though I have not been totally disconnected, it has been lonely. What has been lacking is the exchange of ideas, the involvement, the “belonging.” After all, much of learning is a social experience.

So here I am. Hopefully, reconnected.

Ellen Shubich was born and raised in the Bronx and moved to Mexico 48 years ago when she married. She has a B.S.N. degree from Cornell University-New York Hospital and a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the Universidad La Salle. Ellen has held many different positions: nurse, gerontologist, teacher of nursing, English teacher, coordinator, principal (Elementary and Middle School), and English principal. She is married, has a son and daughter and three grandchildren.