Reflecting on this Past Year

…..today I’m officially a senior citizen

There has to be a better designation than senior citizen when you turn 65. I know there are many perks when you reach this age but it also comes with labels such as golden oldie, old fart, grandma, oldster, senior, geezer, geriatric, old-timer and blue hair. Even though I’m a proud grandmother to Winnie I don’t feel old.

 

I look back on this past year and am proud of what I’ve done and happy to have such amazing friends and a wonderful family. I knew that this was the year to retire from teaching. I still loved the job but there were days when I was just plain tired and sometimes I didn’t feel that I fit in anymore. I didn’t want to be one of those crotchety old teachers that criticized younger teachers for doing things differently.  Sometimes I didn’t like what went on but I wanted to leave on a happy note so I kept quiet for the most part. The only people I would share my views with were people closer to my age and those who were also retiring. I have to admit that some of my favourite teachers were those much younger than me. I loved their humour and zest for life.

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Of course the students are what kept me going as a teacher. They weren’t always easy to teach and over the years the job grew increasingly more difficult but in the end the love and gratitude I received in the form of cards, art work, letters of appreciation and countless hugs made it all worthwhile.

This past year I’ve seen my own children continue to grow into responsible and amazing adults. They are all married now and our one and only grandchild is growing like a weed. She is my pride and joy.  Last night she kept saying Oma birthday, Oma birthday while rolling around in her crib. She clearly knows everyone in the family now and can say everyone’s name. She picks up at least 10 new words every day and we have to be so careful what we say in front of her.

My retirement is not quite working out the way I thought it would. I was hoping to do more travelling but it is still early days. Last May my father moved into our house. At 90 he’s still very independent but we’re a little worried about leaving him for too long. So far the longest we’ve left him alone is four days. We’re hoping to travel to London, England in November to visit with our son before he leaves to live in New York City in the coming year. Someone recently asked me if Dad was coming with us. We’ve tried to convince him to make at least one more trip to Germany to visit his brother. It looks like that won’t happen for at least another year, God willing, and I’m not sure if a trip to London would be in the cards for him as well. We’ll have to wait and see.

So as I turn 65 today I can honestly say that I’ve had a wonderful life. Now I look forward to my next adventure and hopefully I’ve inherited my father’s genes so that I can enjoy the next 30 years of my life with the same joie de vivre.

First of Many Retirement Parties

…..not sure why but this is the fourth time I’ve tried to write about this

As many of you know, I retired from teaching on June 30. Four of us all retired this year so there were many parties to attend. The first party was put on by the Toronto District School Board. I’ve been with this board for my entire career.

Back in May over 900 employees from the board were celebrated. That’s how many people retired this year. The highlight of the evening happened at the end of the evening when each of us was gifted a bronze school bell. At the countdown every recipient rung their bell at the same time. It was deafening. In the video below only three of us were ringing the bells.

A Garden of Spring Flowers in Paint

….in this part of the world spring is not close at hand

Looking at blogs that originate in Ireland, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and the west coast of North America I’m amazed to see so many gardens that are already in bloom with beautiful spring flowers. With some luck we may see our first daffodil in late April but most of our flowers won’t appear until May.

To get us in the spring mood I painted some simple made up flowers using watercolours and circle shapes. For the background I used a scraping technique that I learned from Carla Sonheim. Once the paint was dry I added more detail, sometimes with  more paint but mostly with black ink from a Sharpie. I liked the final product so much I adapted it for my students and when I return to school this week I will plaster the walls with their beautiful gardens of flowers. I will share their work with you later this week.

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Creating Ginger Root Creatures

…..a grade 2/3 art project

For one of my assignments with Carla Sonheim’s 2017 Year Long Class: 365 we were instructed to take a piece of ginger root and draw the shape onto a piece of paper. Then were to take three colours and add detail to the shape to create some kind of fantastic creature. This was so much fun that I gave the same assignment to my grade 2 and grade 3 students. I bought a few pieces of ginger root and photo copied some photos of ginger root that I found on the internet. Here are the samples that I made to demonstrate the procedure to my classes.

The children chose the ginger root shape that they wanted to copy and they were encouraged to put their creature in a setting and give them a name. Here is a sampling of their creations:

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More Collage Art by my Grade Three Classes

….I love the finished collage projects that my grade three art classes produced

It took close to three weeks to get this assignment finished. The first week we collected and assorted coloured pages from magazine and discarded books. The second week we cut up and glued geometric shapes into cityscapes or country landscapes. In the final class we added line detail and dots to give the scene texture and interest. I think the boys and girls did a wonderful job.

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More Collage Art

….from a different grade 3 class

I love how unique each piece is. This class started this assignment when I was away. The concept of creating a cityscape of buildings clearly wasn’t on the radar for some of these students but I can’t fault them when I wasn’t there to give them the instructions. Some of them also created more of a fantasy land with flying turtles and smiling buildings but I love that too.

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