Carol Thorsness, Retired, 2002, Livermore School District
Retired teacher writes, publishes her first book

Teacher Talk
After retiring from Livermore School District in 2002, Carol Thorsness finally found enough time to write and publish her first book.

After a busy teaching career, retirement for Carol Thorsness meant finally having enough time to write and publish her first book, a young adult novel, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Was teaching your first career choice?

I was fortunate to stumble into teaching. I was the first in my family to go to college, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I lived in Texas at the time, and St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Houston needed teachers, so I decided to give it a try. Teaching was an excellent fit. My husband’s job eventually brought us out to California. I taught special education as well as some 6th grade and ended my career teaching 8th grade core.

What is one of your biggest accomplishments as a teacher?

I established Career Week for my 8th grade class and brought in parents to talk about their careers. The kids got a different perspective of what they could look forward to later on in life. I was so proud of all my students. They were clever and creative, and they worked hard. And they were kind, too, which is something I think middle-schoolers don’t get credit for.

Retired teacher Carol Thorsness: “I’ve been writing all my life, but this is the first book I’ve finished and published.”

How are you spending your retirement?

I wrote a book! I’ve been writing all my life, but this is the first book I’ve finished and published. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is a young adult novel. I used what I knew about middle school kids to fashion the characters and the problem situations they get themselves into. The book focuses on the kids getting out of those situations and how they help each other. It’s a bit of a coming-of-age story.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Retirement is great! I really miss the kids. I miss the act of teaching but I do not miss having to get up early in the morning! Also, retirement gives you lots of time to do the other things you have set aside while you’re busy teaching. Because, let’s face it—if you’re teaching, you just don’t have a lot of time for the extra stuff. I’m working on another book—for adults this time. It’s about a woman who has gone through a divorce and builds a new and wonderful life on the Big Island of Hawaii. I’ve also become quite the tiler. I’ve retiled the entire condo we have in Hawaii. I used Aleve in the morning and wine in the afternoon! It’s a lot of fun!

Teacher Talk is a series of profiles on California teachers and other educators. To be considered for a future profile, please email, with Teacher Talk in the subject line.

This profile also appears in Retired Educator Winter 2016, as part of the “How Are You Spending Your Retirement” series, focusing on career accomplishments and retirement adventures of our members.