Redefining Retirement – Michael Burns – Inspiration in Retirement

Redefining Retirement
Redefining Retirement - Michael Burns with Book

Retired CPS teacher Michael Burns started his career in the early 70s at Chopin Elementary School. Throughout the years, he taught at Wendell Smith and Wentworth Elementary School before moving onto substituting. Michael retired in 2014 after several years as a day-to-day substitute teacher at various elementary schools.  

Michael awoke one day feeling inspired to write a children’s book about Christmas. The idea stuck in his mind for several years until he retired and finally decided to write the book. Michael released his self-published Christmas story, Oliver Ornament, in 2014 and went onto be listed in the Illinois Author Directory. 

Aside from his children’s book, Michael writes poetry and has entered a variety of poetry competitions. “Poetry allows me to express my emotions, ideas, and opinions in various forms of communications," says Michael. 

Michael also finds volunteering in retirement extremely important. “Volunteering after retiring is important for a retiree to retain and maintain beneficial mental health, cognitive, and social skills.” 

Michael has volunteered for the Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and actively involving the Chicago metropolitan religious community in issues and campaigns that improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for low-wage workers. He also participated in a labor-faith-community project named The Building Bridges Project.  

As for other teachers who are recently retired or considering retirement, Michael shared this advice for a successful retirement, “Get involved in activities in your communities to enhance the quality of life of others and you will enrich yourself.”