Monday, November 8, 2010

A retirement shelter for homeless art projects?

A lot of the bloggers I follow are still early in their teaching careers, but some of you, like me, have been teaching a LONG time and are close to retirement (or already retired). I'm anticipating that I'll probably retire a year from this coming June, so basically a year and a half away. My son graduates from college this year, and my teaching contract runs for another year, so it seems to make sense that that will be the time to retire.

Retirement is a big deal, and I've accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. I've got boxes of crazy props for drawing, and glass bottles, and art prints, and sample projects. Lots of them. I've got sample paintings, drawings, collages, prints, and more. I've made woven pouches, sculptures with stockings over wire, clay critters of every sort, an army of finger puppets, paper bag puppets, sock puppets, apple head dolls, plaster bandage people, a sock monkey, a funky totem pole, carvings in sheet rock, tooling foil reliefs, cardboard sculptures, and papier-mache. Lots of papier-mache: there's hot air balloons, maracas, a Mancala game, a penguin, a dragonfly, an iguana, a frog, three fat cats, crazy critters, tikis, Kachina dolls, masks, bowls, and more. Yes, more. And of course my dragons. Lucy is 5' long, cloth-mache over chicken wire, and when her wings are attached her wingspan is also about 5'. And there's her fragile baby Sparkle in her cracked dragon egg.

So here's the question for you, fellow bloggers. Where do they all go when I retire? I'd have to build another whole house to fit it all in, but I'll also be reluctant to get rid of it. And sweet Lucy won't fit in my little house anywhere. It's been suggested she hang from a ceiling somewhere, but she's a resting dragon, with a flat bottom. Hanging her wouldn't work. I don't think my husband would look kindly on all of this stuff in my living room. He'd be booking me for an episode of Hoarders.

I know I've got some time to figure it all out, but please weigh in with your ideas!

14 comments:

  1. I understand COMPLETELY!! I started giving away things midway through last year, anticipating a June retirement date. However, I kept a few basic math manipulatives and reading things at school, thinking I might tutor or volunteer at school in math or beginning reading. I kept my art stuff for the same reason. Everything else found a home with someone new. Taking it all home was not an option, as I have NO storage space to put any of it. As I sorted well into the thousands of books I had collected, I hand picked some things to pass on to teachers I knew would value them, kept a few special ones for myself and put the rest in the teachers' workroom for whoever wanted them. Each day I would put stuff in there and usually be the end of the day it had vanished into someone's room. The picture books were the hardest for me to part with, but you know, now that it is done it doesn't hurt a bit!! Now, I love the time I spend at school teaching, but I love all the other things I have time to do also! It is a great balance. Good luck to you with the cleaning out.

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  2. I bet if you take your old sample projects and raffle them/having a drawing for you students that they would LOVE to give your stuff a home. Maybe your dragon could live in the school or public library. I also bet that whoever is taking over for you will want a lot of it.

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  3. WOW! Gorgeous stuff! Why not keep the few pieces you couldn't live without and then have a raffle for the rest? Pick a charity you like, have other bloggers use some form to donate a dollar/5 bucks or some such and then draw some winners. Then, your pieces could go on to inspire other art students AND you could raise a little money for your charity of choice?

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  4. like the donation to the library idea. What amazing stuff you have accumulated! I keep moving, so don't keep anything. I want to make stuff for my room now! You've inspired me!

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  6. Find another art teacher... I truly admired this one teacher, We moved to her school zone and we would walk at night and peek in the school windows at all her really cool displays. Well, needless to say I became great friends with her and her "retired art teacher boxes" fill my classroom. I took it all Posters, books, even her old puzzles! In return she receives all my broken crayons at the end of every year-she makes crayons into fun art projects.

    p.s. sorry I had misspelled in my previous post. Hey maybe you can leave me help with better spelling ! :)

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  7. we had a middle school teacher in our county retire and she had a day that she invited all the other art teachers to come take it! She put it out on tables and we got to sort and steal! I got a marbelizing kit some lesson samples and even a toaster oven!

    You could also send it to your blogging friends! :-)
    My school is the Greenville Dragons, or mascot is Felix the Dragon and the office is filled with dragons!

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  8. Oh my gosh, what great ideas! Why didn't I think of any of this stuff?! I've got another year before I actually start getting rid of the stuff, but I'll refer back to this when the time comes. In the meantime, you've all eased my mind a bit - thanks. And I hadn't even thought about all the books I've accumulated - thanks for reminding me! Amy, I especially like using it for some cash to give to charity.

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  9. Tishalou, I'm not I could send my dragon so far from home...

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  10. Retiring!?! What! I hope you will pull a Brett Favre! You are at the top of your game:) If you want to clear out your space I think a children's wing in the hospital would appreciate the art!

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  11. When the art teacher I student taught with retired, she gave me two huge carloads worth of art goodies. It was the best gift ever for me and my classroom! They live on and are used and admired every year. I still have many, many years to go, but I have often thought about what I will do with all the great stuff you accumulate as an art teacher. It's overwhelming to really think about...

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  12. Relax, Erica, my intended retirement date is June 2012, a year and 1/2 off. Why would I be considering retiring when, as you said, I'm at the "top of my game"? Three reasons, really:

    1)My only child will graduate from college this May and isn't currently planning grad school. That means hopefully a little break for us financially (we've paid a LOT of his tuition, and today I'm paying for a suit for him for job interviews). So perhaps the $$ can go for travel to places I've always wanted to go - from Galapagos to Europe - who knows - and I wouldn't have to travel on school vacation times.

    2) our teacher contract expires June 2012 and I retire with health benefits in my current contract. I think it's likely a new contract settlement would mean higher personal costs for health insurance, which I would be stuck with forever.

    3) I love what I do, and thoroughly enjoy the kids. It's the adults I have a problem with sometimes. I think many (but not all) of the adults I see daily are catty and clique-ish and I get fed up and feel disregarded. I'm tired of offering good ideas that get shot down because people can't be bothered (does this sound like your greenhouse?). Plus I think the adults in NY state who make the decisions about education are currently making decisions that will make staying in education very challenging, very stressful. They will be making teacher evaluation based on children's improvements in test scores, but they haven't yet figured out how they'll do that in the arts, etc. I don't want to spend my time testing, nor do I want to expect more out of kids than what they are developmentally able to produce. The kids leave my room happy; I don't want to change it to a stressful situation because now they'll have to show improvement,and frankly I don't want to fret about how I'll be evaluated. I know I do a good job and I'm a little annoyed that after 34 years I still have to prove it. We teachers get blamed for everything, and parents seem to bear no responsibility any more. So to avoid getting bitter I'll need to get out. I could say more, but that's enough, isn't it?

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  13. DO you have pictures of your treasures? Keep the ones that you truly cannot part with & either raffle them off to benefit something or better yet, ask the district to hold them for your replacement. As a brand new teacher, it would have made my first year of teaching a bit easier if I had a few "bits & pieces" from my predecessor.

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  14. Again, thanks everbody for the ideas. Next year if you're still reading my blog I'll certainly give you the opportunity to take some of my treasures! It would be fun to mail them to new homes where they would be appreciated. And Jenn, yes, besides the photos already in this post I obviously can take more.

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