Saturday, May 19, 2012
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.