Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reality TV, & imagining a new reality

First, about reality TV:
you actually know, not one, but TWO REAL PEOPLE on reality TV shows! Now you probably already know that I love Project Runway and Survivor, but this year my eye has been on two other reality shows - The Biggest Loser and The Sing-Off.

I have a son-in-law on Biggest Loser!!
Actually he's not on right now, as he got voted off a couple of weeks ago, but if you watch BL at all you would remember Joe (above). He'll be back on the show for the finale, coming in December. A week ago, he flew to NYC from his home in Tennessee with his wife (my stepdaughter) and their daughter (their first time in the Big Apple) to be on the Today Show. I was busy teaching and preparing for my conference, but my hubby was able to take the train to Manhattan and got to spend a day with them. How cool is that?! Joe looks fabulous and has changed his life. It may be a TV show, but what Biggest Loser does for people is REAL. Congratulations, Joe!!

As for The Sing-Off - the finale is tonight, and one of my son's good friends from his high school class is in the Dartmouth Aires. This group is one of the 3 finalists! If you watch this show regularly, you might have noticed a nice-looking blonde boy in the group (on the left in the photo above) - that's Alex. We're rooting for you, Alex! (*I should also mention, for those of you that follow college basketball, that another of my son's high school classmates was Jimmer Fredette, a BYU sensation that was a first-round draft pick for the NBA. What a graduating class!)

Ironically, my son also knew people in one of the other groups on The Sing-Off, the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. He just graduated from UR in May, and was pretty involved in the musical community, so he had two teams to root for on the show, thought the Yellowjackets did not last to the finals.

Now to imagining that whole new reality... IMAGINE THAT you've been teaching your whole adult life, and suddenly it is going to be over. This is not imagining; it is real (though it actually feels more surreal than real). It is official - after 35-1/2 years in the classroom, 26-1/2 of them in my current job, I will be hanging up my smock this June. With a 30 mile commute, a contract expiring in June, new education legislation in NY that makes me crazy, and a son that is (somewhat) financially independent, the time is right for me to retire.

I'll be packing up my belongings and moving on. By the way, the heads (above) and the IMAGINE THAT signs are disassembled banquet centerpieces from my recent state art teachers conference. They were being boxed up for storage or transport as I was photographing them, and I feel like the expression on the face of the Vermeer gal below could be mine, wondering what happens next.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing or where I'm headed, though you can bet I'll still be involved with art and education and kids somehow. And I expect I'll still be blogging. But beyond that, I've tossed around a few ideas, and had an unexpected idea come my way, but the truth is, I DON'T KNOW YET. It's a little frightening, as I've always been a planner, and I don't really feel old enough to retire, but my goal is to make it exciting. I suppose to begin I'll spend more time here:
(That's obviously my pretty little home, maybe a month ago. It's an in-progress photo as the trim gets repainted. We'll finish in the spring.)

Anyhow - I'm not a violent person, but I've told my husband "if you see me in a polyester pantsuit, or a velour jogging suit with kitties, a birdhouse, or a flowerpot embroidered on the front, perhaps on my way to a chair exercise class, GET A GUN and put me out of my misery."

Seriously, folks, I plan to be very active and busy; I don't sit still well for long. However I may be looking for some advice on how to proceed. In the months to come, I'm going to be picking your brains and I hope you'll be willing to help me figure it all out!


  1. Congrats my new friend. How lucky you are. I can't imagine teaching that long especially with all the changes in education today. I am wondering how I will make it for another 15!! Your students and school have surely been blessed. You will reinvent yourself and be as creative as ever.

  2. Good grief! I was still editing and you already left a comment! Yikes, I'd better stop changing the post...

  3. Phyl -- From one who is 2 years ahead of you on the retirement track (after 40 years teaching in one school), I can assure you that you WILL find meaningful, fun things to do ( once you get rid of all the stuff in your classroom, that is.) My advice is to start purging a little each week starting in January!! As you know, I've found time to spend with kids and art, teaching my volunteer program two days a week (not rising at 6:00 am though!), but the other the days in the week are free to do other fun things. I LOVE IT!!

  4. I am going to congratulate you first. CONGRATULATIONS,Phyl! Then, I am going to ask you to remember the process you go through, leaving public education behind. I will be following in your footsteps in 4 years so I will need your expertise to get through it! I know what you mean when you say it's kinda scary, beginning a new journey. I have every faith that you will find your passion and follow it wherever it may take you. Did I mention how happy and jealous I am? LOL


  5. a couple things..

    I auditioned for the biggest loser a few years ago, but I wasn't fat enough. They were really looking for people that could lose half their body mass(even though they say only 100)...and I could not & did not want to lose half of my body mass. I love the show though..and sometimes think about auditioning again.

    2nd... YOU ARE RETIRING?!?!!?!!?!? WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT MY PHYL?!?!?! You need to teach some private lessons & keep posting!!!! I can not imagine my blogging world without you my far away friend.

  6. Retiring???????? Oooooooooh, LUCKY! I have a year more to go than you do. Hope I can do it when I am able. Congrats!!!!! I hope you will continue to blog so we can see what fun things you are up to.

    How cool that your SIL is on tv.

    Times sound good up in the great north!


  7. Thanks everyone!!

    Mr. E, what a sweetie-pie you are! I promise, I am not going away! Private lessons or some sort of an after-school program are DEFINITELY being seriously considered and I fully expect to be doing art with kids somehow next year. But I WON'T be worrying about RTTT and APPR and assessments and rubrics and, night-owl that I am, I don't expect to be getting up at 5:45 too often. Though I do plan on subbing, art only. And I am too hooked on blogging to stop.

    By the way, Mr.E, Joe auditioned several times over 4 years. I think they probably were getting sick of him auditioning!! I'm just glad to see him healthy, especially as a role model for his beautiful children.

  8. I'm sad to hear this but Congrats to you on your many years of teaching art! What a great accomplishment, I'm sure many children are passionate about art because of you!
    I'm in the same 'what's next?' boat...but for different reasons. The past three years of teaching have been year long sub positions at different schools for maternity leaves, sabbaticals...etc. I'm wondering what I'll be doing next & where I'll be!
    Have fun on your new adventure in June!

  9. Congratulations Phyl! Your many many many students are so lucky to have had such an enthusiastic and awesome art educator, I'm sure you will be very missed at your school. Please don't disappear from the bloggy-world though... !

  10. Congrats Phyl! I am half way there. I would def fill my time with gardening, and exploring off into a new frontier! Just think you will be kayaking in the fall while I am passing out paints to 2nd graders. Enjoy the time with your family! :)

  11. Phyl, congratulations! What a legacy you have left to so many children! 35 yrs! You will take your special memories with you, and create many new ones in your new adventures! You have the best ideas, I hope you keep blogging! Enjoy a new normal and sleep in for at least a year before you pick up another 8am gig! ~Natalie~

  12. Phyl, what an accomplishment your years of teaching are! I feel so lucky to be teaching art and can't imagine a day when I will retire... seriously, I have like 20 more years! LOL! I have learned so much from you and hope you continue blogging! I enjoyed meeting you again at the conference and love that you took pics of the heads! I forgot my camera! Congrats to you!

  13. Congrats! I have been following you for maybe a year and you have inspired me. I look forward to following you through your next 6 months in the classroom. I love your posts. I know you will develop a plan for the next phase of your legacy!

  14. Phyl, totally different topic- I LOVE your house!!! It's so sweet and very "American' in my eyes. I hope to have a beautiful heritage home like that one day.