Ten Days and Counting

…..retirement is close at hand

I don’t normally count down the days to the end of the school year but this year is different. I’m finally retiring from teaching after 35 years of service.

I know some teachers who when they know they are retiring start the  count down from the first day of school in September. This is not my style but as my last day approaches I’m starting to feel that my life is about to change. I’ve written three speeches for three different retirement parties that all took place in the space of one week. The first one was for my principal and good friend, M, the second one for my longtime friend, L and the third was for me.

All three parties were very different. The first one was a sit-down dinner in an Italian restaurant, the second in the nursing home where L’s dad lived and mine was also in an Italian restaurant but less formal with finger foods being served.  All were special in their own way and I loved them all.

M’s party was held at her favourite restaurant. The meal was excellent and the speeches were warm and personal. M’s family was there and both her youngest sister and her niece spoke. They were funny and touching at the same time. L and I gave our speech in the form of a report card, which the staff thoroughly enjoyed because it was a bit of a roast but in the end the message was more serious. When M spoke she talked about how and why she came to be a principal.

L really wanted her father to be able to attend her retirement party and for that reason she booked the ‘party’ room at the nursing home. There was a piano player who played the entire evening in very comfortable surroundings. There were couches and overstuffed chairs situated around the room where people could sit and talk and listen to the speeches. Friends manned the wine table and servers walked about the room with canapés. The highlight of the evening took place when L and her father sang together and at the end of the evening L sang a solo. Three former principals came to the party plus family, friends and colleagues from school. It was a very musical evening and the accolades about her teaching career, especially those about her choirs, were very fitting for a much loved music teacher.

My party was the last one, held on Wednesday of this week. It took place in a restaurant literally up the street from where I live. My husband and I had eaten there on a couple of occasions and thoroughly enjoyed the food. My family, including little Winnie, friends from years past who were now at other schools, retired friends, neighbourhood friends, life long friends and colleagues from school attended. I was especially honoured when my very first principal from 1976-79 arrived with his wife. I wanted the party to be casual and fun. The finger food was amazing, the aperol spritzes refreshing and the cake and desserts delicious. My friend P, was the MC for the evening and he kept everyone laughing. Three of my friends used the Wizard of Oz as their theme for the speech they gave about my time with them at the school where we all met and worked at for eight to ten years. There were so many wonderful speeches that it would take too long to talk about each and everyone of them. I had the best time and will never forget the thought and care people put into planning my special day.

 

Share Your World 2016 – Week 25

…..check out Cee’s Share Your World and join the fun

How many languages do you you speak?

Basically I speak two languages, English and German. German was my first language and I understand it very well but I am very hesitant to use it. Growing up I had to go to German school on Saturdays and I hated it. Whenever my parents or their friends spoke to me in German I would answer in English. When I turned 18 I sang in a German choir and did so for 27 years.

What are some words that just make you smile?

The first word that makes me smile is my granddaughter’s name – Winnie. I can’t help but smile when I think of her or hear someone utter her name. Come to think of it all the names of my loved ones make me smile. Other words that make me smile are love, art, summer vacation, cottage, puppy and party.

If you were the original architect of one existing building, which building would you select?

This is tough because there are lots of buildings that I would be proud to put my name on, even ones that have been somewhat controversial. I love old and new but I think the one that stands out for me at the moment is the AGO. It is a combination of old and new. Several years ago it underwent a renovation and I simply love the lines and all the wood on the inside. The architect is Frank Gehry.

Would you rather have telepathy or telekinesis? (Telepathy is the communication using your brain waves, telekinesis is channeling the energy onto physical objects to cause substantial, observable physical changes.)

I think I’d rather have telepathy. It would be neat to be able to send messages without opening my mouth.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for being able to check off more items from my to do list. As you know June is extremely busy for me at school. Every time I’m able to cross off another item it takes a huge weight off my shoulders.

Things that are done:

2 retirement parties- collected money and bought gift for one

Jump Rope for Heart – money collected and prizes distributed

Report cards written, proofread and printed

Timetables for next year organized

Father’s Day gift bought and BBQ with the family

Year end school concert

Rehearsals for grade five farewell

book club for June

finished paintings with the students for the stage

son’s wedding via the internet

city finals for girls’ soccer

taking 78 students to Jays’ baseball game to sing the national anthems

This week I’m looking forward to the grade 5 farewell assembly, play day, cleaning up my office in the library, the staff party and making final arrangements for our trip to Italy. Most of all I’m looking forward to getting on that plane next Saturday. Phew! I’m tired just thinking about it.

 

 

A New Week With Many Challenges

…. bigger class, EQAO testing, report cards, more soccer practices, Girls on the Run, and K’s last round of chemo

I’ve probably forgot some things but I have to take one day at a time and one task at a time. Of course on top of all of this I’m trying to to get through the curriculum and I’ve assigned more projects to keep the kids engaged. 

Today was a good activity and food day. I started the morning off with a nice walk/run with K and Frances. About 3 km. I spent about 3 hours working in the garden, cutting grass, trimming the edges, pulling weeds from the brick work on the patio and washing down the deck. We have birds nesting in our tree and our neighbour’s bird feeders attrack pigeons, so we have a lot of “fall out”, so to speak, to clean up.

Later in the afternoon I did a little bit of shopping and then I went to a “NOT a book launch” party. Unfortunately the word NOT did not come up in conversation when I was told about it and I expected to go there and buy a book. I stayed away from the usual party food and nibbled on some turkey and vegetables. No wine, chips, nachos, spring rolls, etc.. Feels good to be in control.

Till tomorrow!