Saturday, May 19, 2012

Retirement suprises!


Last night was my school district's retirement party. The basket above was filled, and I mean FILLED with drawings, cards, letters, and more from almost all of the kids I work with now, and also some kids in 7th grade and high school. WOW. And you may notice some gift cards tucked in there too. Double wow.

The photo on the right above is North Warren Central School's art department: past (me, center); present (the wonderful secondary art teacher, right); and future (my replacement and friend, current elementary computer teacher and more, and also the creator of that remarkable basket, left). Sorry about the poor focus on some of these photos. Camera problems :(

Beautiful blood red roses (my favorite color) from my lovely stepdaughter and her adorable husband; and a fabulous cake made by the sister of a staff member who really went the extra mile planning a great party for me and the other two retirees.


Left above, that's the stepdaughter and hubby, and my sweet hubby behind me who surprised me with the red rose corsage (which was really lucky, because I had been making a necklace to wear, and it was almost done and I "oopsied" after school yesterday trimming the excess wire and cut the wrong wire and now need to do damage control and so obviously I couldn't wear it).

The center photo is the presentation about ME. You already know the two ladies at the podium are the present and future art department. On the left is a dear friend/high school social studies teacher who worked closely with me during my 10 years as union president and more. He "roasted" me, in particular about the way I ran the union (I think he used the word "bulldog" more than once, and he called me bossy, but also said I made the union professional and gave us clout and always did my darnedest to protect the rights of my members no matter the situation.) I'm proud to say that everything he said was true, and I was tickled that he knew nothing he said would offend me.

The drawings below came from the many in my basket. Hopefully in the coming days I'll have the chance to scan some of the others to share. I particularly liked these because of the way I was represented, with an apron and red shoes and glasses, my hair white and wild on the left and gray and pony-tailed on the right. Simply fabulous. Thank you Caitlin and Cassie! (Speaking of my hair: I tried to French-braid my hair for the party, and then I got a phone call from my son and got sidetracked and ran out of time. Oh well.)

A couple more things about the presentation about ME:
My replacement spoke about my years of teaching, and the wonderful things kids said. I loved in particular that so many of them said I always smiled, and that I'm funny and creative, and that I don't mind if they make a mess. One quote that I love: "Mrs. Brown is the best art teacher I ever had. Well actually, she's the ONLY art teacher I ever had but she's still pretty good." Smiles.

She had asked me earlier last week what the hardest thing is about being an art teacher, and I had replied "working in isolation - art teachers in small schools are often islands unto themselves and have nobody with whom they can share ideas". I had mentioned how that had changed in the past 2 years for me, partly because of my wonderful young colleague (it is the first time in years that I really feel like part of a team and not a solo operation), and also because of the supportive community that has formed from blogging. She evidently really heard me during that conversation, because, much to my surprise, she contacted some of YOU. Holy guacamole! At the podium she shared remarks from several of you and I must say I was blown away by what you said. You must know, though, that whatever you have gotten from me, I have received back tenfold from my associations with you. Thank you for what you give me by your willingness to share on your blogs, and thank you for taking the time to respond to a request from a stranger! Hopefully you'll get to know her more, since I think she's already discovering the value of our art teacher blog network. Art Project Girl, I should mention, lest you feel left out, that she knew of our friendship but couldn't find an email address to contact you. She couldn't leave a comment on your blog because she knew I'd find it and the secret would have been out!

All in all, it was a fabulous evening, with some wonderful hugs and comments from staff members that I didn't even know cared about what I do. It was also nice to see some previously retired friends who came back to celebrate with us. You may wonder why my adorable son is not in the photos. He's been on his new job barely a month and was not ready to ask for time off. I saw him last week for Mother's Day, and will see him again for Memorial Day, so I told him not to worry about missing this evening - I adore him and know he loves us too!

Anyhow, it's way past bedtime, and it is supposed to be a beautiful day tomorrow, so I'd better get some sleep so I can get in some kayak time! Thanks so much everyone.

20 comments:

  1. looks like a perfect retirement party for a very unique and talented art teacher. :)

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  2. wow..what an amazing party for you.xxenjoy your retirement.Does that mean you will not be carrying on with this amazing blog?xxlynda

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    1. Lynda, I am absolutely continuing to blog! I still have photos in the "archives" of projects done way before I started blogging, and I will definitely pull them out to use, and I have other artsy adventures in mind as well. Stay tuned, I'll be around! I'd miss my bloggy friends too much if I quit the blog.

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  3. Phyl, I am so happy you had a great night! You deserve it, I want to say thank you for being a leader in the art blogging world, You are always quick to compliment someone artwork, as well as post fun projects. I can't wait to see you next adventures! :)

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  4. You work at an amazing school with wonderful people that recognize your talent. Way cool!!!! I also wanted to comment about being in isolation. I felt the same way for the past 5 years until I stumbled upon your blog and many others. Being a part of this community is a terrific thing.
    I can't wait to see what is on your plate next!

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  5. It sounds as though you were recognized in fine fashion, Phil. Congratulations on impacting so many children through your teachings. Can't wait to see what you will be up to next! All the best!

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    1. Thanks, Patty! I love hearing from you because YOU got me started in the blog world!

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  6. PHYL CONGRATULATIONS!!! Your career, love and friendships will be honored at this school much longer then one night. Every child who walked through your door got the experience of being accepted, creative and messy. I add messy because you are one of the last art teachers left who champions being messy (I hope to continue that legacy for a few more years) and I know you inspired other art teachers to do the same. Most of all, you make create that magical space for your students where the world can slowly melt away and they can go to that creative place. It is evident from reading your blog. All kids need to be able to access that creative space, but especially now! YOU are magical and will continue on your adventure like every heroin does, with a dragon in toe;)

    xo

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    1. XOXO to you, too, Art Project Girl!! I'm glad you mentioned the messy thing. You know, I think the older I've gotten, the less stressed I am by the mess. We just laugh about it and then clean it up. Which is a good thing, because I'm planning a little Jackson Pollock (actually not so little at all) with my 4th graders in another week. Let's use up all those half full bottles of paints!!!

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  7. Phyl, now you can move to TN and teach down here with me!!!!!!! :) hee hee

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  8. I'm glad you had fun Friday. I wanted it to be special. Your gifts finally arrived on Saturday, a day late but hopefully you'll love them. I want you to be the 1st one to join my blog at http://myartwings.blogspot.com. I will probably have to get a lesson or two from you about using it. I hate reading manuals. See you tomorrow.

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  9. It sounds like your retirement party was a huge success, Phyl! The pictures tell the story and you look so happy! Enjoy your last weeks of teaching before you transition into summer and a whole new chapter in, "The Book of Phyl". :)Pat

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    1. Pat...do you think we'll be mentioned in the Book of Phyl? :)

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  10. Phyl, the best of luck in all your new adventures outside the classroom! Thank you for all your comments and advice this year! Hope you keep blogging! :)

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  11. Congrats, Phyl! I love the drawings, how sweet! I'm very glad to hear you will continue with your blog, I know I love stopping by for inspiration!

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  12. Phyl- you are an inspirational art teacher to so many of us! Wishing you all of the best in your next life chapter!!

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  13. As I leave my room for the summer I am thinking about you retiring and leaving it for good... I want to tell you THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing all your knowledge, thoughts, projects, joys and frustrations. It helps me feel "not so alone" in my artroom. May your summer and your fall and your winter.... bring you much joy! Enjoy your retirement.

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  14. Phyl!! Congratulations! I don't think that we as art educators understand the real impact we make in our schools. I hope my retirement will be just as bittersweet as yours... one day.

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  15. Phyl... I love that you share your experiences with us and are so honest and fun! You have influenced so many (including me as I read your blog and used some of your lessons!) and are a creative and wonderful person! It was a pleasure spending time with you at NYSATA conference and wish I had spent more time at NAEA with you! So happy for you!

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    1. Thanks, Jen. I'm sure I'll see you at next fall's NYSATA conference. I'm now my region's rep for the board, so as a board member I sort of HAVE to be there. I'll teach a workshop or two, but it should all be fun because I won't have to worry if I don't go to workshops on writing SLO's or the Common Core.

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