Throwing this out there!
Every year our Union holds a retirement dinner for those teachers who have come to the end of their career. !We dress up. Bands play. Honors are given. Occasionally people are good naturedly roasted. It is ONE BIG PARTY that I look forward to every year. Last year there was not a retirement dinner, covid and all… so good-byes were said via group emails.
And guess what? I decided to retire this year! Because I love the retirement dinner so much, I have thought of my own for years. Who would introduce me… whether or I should fly up my daughters to celebrate – I have seen other teachers do that and it looked so fun. I have also seen them rent out hotel rooms at the celebration venue and continue the party into the late hours of the night. I considered that too. I am a planner. I had been planning details of my own retirement celebration since I went to my first dinner.
I prepared myself for the disappointment of no festivities this year, so I was surprised to learn that the Union would be having a celebration virtually. I recognize that was the best that can be done in a bad situation, so I am grateful, and realize there are kids who are missing proms, sports seasons and “normal” kid things. There are adults who are spending birthdays alone, grandparents who are missing grandbabies. Putting it in that perspective I embraced it. I asked friends to introduce me. I invited my family to the zoom. I wrote a speech.
The Retirement Celebration is tomorrow. It is an unknown at this point, I will have to let you know how it goes later, because…. well… because I will be retired and I will have TIME to write more.
Here is the speech I have written. I decided to put it out there although I imagine I will tweak it again and again, but it is close to finished.
I am grateful to KEA for putting this celebration together – I am one of those folks who LOVE the retirement dinner. I look forward to it every year. I remember different venues, coming early to decorate – Hollywood and balloons. I remember sweet and often hilarious send-offs.. I remember being a starry eyed new teacher – I was incredibly inspired by the farewell speeches of those master teachers and mentors I looked up to. Those speeches almost always discussed the sense of collegiality, friendship and admiration we had for our co-workers, they almost always said what an honor it was to be trusted such a precious cargo.
When I think of those two things, the kids and the colleagues I just keep circling back to the single word… “Fun.” Everything is a roller coaster of course, but I sure had a lot of fun.
I had fun in the Valley Park days: Open spaces, Big musicals and team teaching. Ceila Eklund, Meredith Lundamo, Sherry Henrickson – All the Ying to my Yang.
I had fun being on the ground floor of TSAS, the privilege of being on a team of teachers: Roxanne, Kristy, Barbara, Meredith, Taylor, Dan – so many others who turned an idea into a school.
Fun at Fawn Mountain: therapy lunch sessions spent with Brooke and Barbara and my dream job, librarian. – not possible without the mentorship of Roxanne, Caitlin and Penny who fielded so many questions – and even though they patiently answered every time I STILL don’t know how to run a lost book report
And the Kids… I’ve had fun with them!
I had fun singing everything from Fifty Nifty United States to Kiss From A Rose.
What could be more fun than watching a sixth grader in an old prom dress as Lady MacBeth reciting “Out! Out Damn Spot!”
Art was big fun even though it always took longer and was messier than I thought it would be, I still loved it when we got our desks and hands messy and sinks full of paint brushes.
I loved nothing more than reading a good book with my class – creating a common language through literature, but my VERY favorite thing was writer’s conferences, side by side, one on one asking young writers to tell you what they loved about their story.
With all that fun going on, 24 years went REALLY fast! And while this year has been weird, weird, weird and slightly scary, there were still plenty of glimmers of joy – kids are still kids after all – shiny bright – funny, smart, anxious, eager, unique. Big personalities in little bodies. So this has been a challenging year, and yet I managed to find those moments of fun.
I have been asked what I plan to “DO” when I retire. My stock answer is: I want to do all the things. I want to Grandma. I want to actually read the paper in the morning, drink that second cup of coffee, garden, quilt, craft, dream up big vacations. So like the last 24 years of fun, I look forward to a future of adventure and fun! And I just thank you – thank you for the honor of having served on KEA as a building rep numerous years, thank you for the honor of having worked side by side with you, the honor of teaching your beautiful children.