Retirement was not a spur of the moment decision, but instead part of a master plan for Rudi Kreis who is now experiencing his final days as a teacher.
“You get old. That’s just a reality,” Kreis said. He added that he wanted to be able to leave when he was still healthy, able to do his job well and enjoy it. That time has come.
“This has been my master plan all along,” he said. “I’m ready. I recognize that I’m ready.”
His interest in teaching sparked back when he was a teenager in sea cadets while living in Windsor, Ontario.
“Through the sea cadets, I started doing instruction and teaching,” he said. “As I moved up, I started teaching the younger kids how to do things.”
It was this initial experience that made him want to look further into teaching.
After finishing high school and taking some time off to travel, Kreis went to post-secondary in Ontario to get his teaching degree.
He entered the Campbell River School District in 1992. He held a number of positions at various schools, before starting at Carihi in September 2001.
For the past few years, he was the morning teacher in the Flex room as well as instructor of the woodshop classes.
Kreis became a part of Flex in its early days when it looked a lot different.
“Flex came out of a merger, probably about 15 years ago with a young moms program we used to have here,” he said. “The idea behind Flex was it was a flexible classroom environment for kids who couldn’t do the regular classroom, for whatever reason.”
Online courses were added later, which made it expand even more. It became available to not only people who needed extra help, but also for those who wanted extra work.
Today, distributed online learning is a major part of Carihi and many students take a Flex block to learn things outside of a conventional classroom.
When not in the lab, the woodshop is where Kreis can be found building, drafting and creating.
“I still have the boat that I made in Grade 8 shop class,” he said.
Alongside his 9-year-old son, they have started to restore the toy boat that got Kreis interested in woodworking all those years ago.
“We are going to redo it together, that’s now going to be our own little project,” he said.
All around, Kreis has enjoyed his time at Carihi to the fullest.
“Once you’re here, you don’t want to go anywhere else,” he said. “It took me 10 years to get here, and once I got here, the only way I was leaving was when I retire. And that’s what it’ll be.”
For his first bit of retirement, he plans on taking things at a relaxing, slow pace.
He has a woodworking shop in Black Creek where he’ll spend some time tackling a few projects.
By looking ahead, although there is uncertainty of what lies ahead on the road of retirement, Kreis plans to make the most of it, enjoying both leisure and family time.
His last day teaching will be Jan. 31.