Sunday 21 March 2021

It's Official

 I am now officially retired from being a full-time elementary school teacher. Friday was my last day and the staff went out of their way to make sure it felt special, and for that I feel incredibly humbled and grateful. From a majestic trumpet fanfare over the announcements in the morning, to a "virtual" assembly that I viewed a la my LCD projector and computer, my class watching with me on the white board in our classroom, to a tour of the school with my class and outside in front of the school where each class clapped for me as I walked past, to a gigantic chocolate cake, and then a final staff wave at the sidewalk at the end of the day as I drove away, the whole day was more than I expected. 

My sweet class, with the help of their gym / health / music teacher created individual illustrated pages where they suggested what I might do when I retire. The pages were laminated and assembled as a book for me. There were cards and lovely messages from parents, and little gifts purchased and hand made from my students, as well as an incredible gift certificate to a local garden centre which is the perfect gift for me from the whole staff.

I held it together for the entire day, not shedding one tear, but did have a chin wobble when my principal led me, and my class, outside for the first of many classes banging drums and clapping and holding up signs to wish me a happy retirement. Even at the end of the day, when my kids were getting ready in the hall to go home and their bus numbers were announced, one by one, and they walked down the hall, I managed to smile and tell them they would love their new teacher and to have a great weekend. 

But it was when I finally left the building, dragging bags and items with me to my car, and pulling out of the parking lot, that I saw teachers standing along the sidewalk, waving, that I went into the ugly cry before I could honk my horn and drive past. See, we have a time honoured tradition that went from our "old school" that closed and now to the "new school" that we moved to, which ironically is the "old highschool", that on the last school day in June, all the teachers and other staff members go outside and stand along the drive way and sidewalk and each school bus pulls away filled with smiling, waving, happy kids ready to begin their summer holidays and we shout our goodbyes to them and they shout their goodbyes to us and the bus drivers wave and honk, and the whole thing is just such a fun way to wrap up yet another school year. And that is what my colleagues were doing for me. It chokes me up just writing about it. I shall miss them a lot.

That evening, my daughter and her boyfriend made their specialty for me (and husband and son), butter chicken and naan bread. It was so good and there was wine and this spectacular thing:

which happened to be the world's best carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Husband had ordered flowers for me to be delivered at my school that day, but alas, the process of locally ordering flowers is a complex and ridiculous one. In a tiny town, there are no local florists, so an online order is placed. That order then goes out into the cyber world to be picked up from some company which will process that order. I did not get my flowers and when husband investigated further (after many phone calls and confusion), it was discovered that some place in California had processed the order and then the somewhat local florist did not receive the actual order until the next day. We did not get charged for the messed up order. 

Of course, none of this has sunk in yet and so far nothing feels different. The only thing that has been a reminder that my time is now my own, is my ability to book a library book pick up time for 1:00 on Monday afternoon! Look at me living the life of luxury!

On a different note, the weather here is incredible. As is the way with Ontario, we went from winter, to four days of spring, to a 17 degree (C) basically summer day. My socks are off. I'm going out to rake fallen branches and spruce cones off the lawn. If I don't get done, it doesn't matter. I can do it some more tomorrow!


34 comments:

  1. What a wonderful last day you had. Enjoy your retirement.

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  2. Congratulations on your retirement! Sounds like a terrific celebration!

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  3. Congratulations. It seemed a long way off a year ago and now it is here. Indeed it does sound like a lovely last day. x

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  4. Happy Retirement! It was the best decision I made.
    1

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  5. Your last comment is the beauty of retirement. If you don't get it done today, you can get it done tomorrow or the next day or....

    Congratulations and Happy Retirement!

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  6. Happy retirement. Have some fun!

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  7. Yay!! So happy for you, Jenn. Enjoy each and every day of freedom!

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  8. So glad you had such a memorable day! Enjoy your new reality!

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  9. Ah yes - retirement day. I was Senior Mistress in a Comprehensive School by the time I actually retired and the staff booked 'Gorilla Man' to come into the staff room, lift me off my feet and carry me down the corridor where many of the pupils cheered and clapped. I have never forgotten!

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  10. What a lovely send off! You did so well holding it together. Our "health" classes were the coy description of sex ed., so I had a laugh imagining what your laminated suggestions might be from that department. Enjoy your boundless days of ... whatevers!

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  11. Congratulations Jenn. What a memorable send off from students & fellow teachers. Your carrot cake looks absolutely amazingly delicious. I am sure some of the reality will take hold on & off for the next few weeks. ... Mary-Lou =^[..]^=

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  12. congratulations! you did have a lovely send off.
    Cathy

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  13. What a very lovely and thoughtful send off from your see school. Enjoy your freedom, lots of spare time and creativity, after a few months you wonder how you ever had time to go to work😁😁😁

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  14. Congratulations Jenn! Sounds like everyone at your school showed you how special you are to them. Enjoy!

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  15. Congratulations! It must have been a difficult day. It sounds like everyone did their best to give you a memorable send off.

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  16. Congratulations! How wonderful to be shown just how special you are.

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  17. Your colleagues will most definitely miss you. Happy, happy retirement!

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  18. Congratulations on a great career, I know, by a sendoff that has put me in tears reading of it. Well done, and many happy yard days to you.

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  19. Congratulations on your retirement. My finances preclude it, but I think you will so enjoy the freedom it grants. What a wonderful effort by your school to make sure you knew how they valued you!

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  20. Sounds like you were given a wonderful sendoff! Congrats on your retirement! The next chapter of your life is about to begin -- may it be the best chapter yet!

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  21. Congratulations on your retirement. What a fantastic send off, I am sure you will miss all of your fellow teachers, students, and support staff.

    God bless.

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  22. Congratulations Jen! I think the best part of retirement are the Sunday evenings, with no job to go to on Monday. I retired from teaching this year too. You'll miss the kiddos and staff but not the rest. Cheers!

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  23. Congratulations to you. What a nice thing your school did for you. It must have made you feel very special and much appreciated. The next chapter of your life awaits. Enjoy!

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  24. What a lovely time of year to retire. Yes, you'll miss teaching for sure but retirement offers you the time to be spontaneous. My husband retired before I did and on a beautiful day he would say, if you didn't have to work, we could do such and such and now we can. Well, not so much because of covid but hopefully that will change soon. Wishing you a very happy retirement.

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  25. Congratulations, Jenn! That is how it should be - a celebration! Enjoy your freedom. xo (I love your new header photo)

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  26. What a magnificent send off. Bet there were years on their side!!
    Enjoy your retirement, or else 😁

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  27. A big CONGRATULATIONS to you JENN!

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  28. Thank you all for your comments. It felt like the lead-up to retirement took forever and I was rather dreading the actual day, but it's done now, so onward I go!

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  29. Congratulations. It sounds like they gave you a send off to remember. My husband was past retirement age but didn't want to retire and I was several years off when covid came along. As self employed outside caterers we had to put all on hold and retire earlier than planned. The things that I have enjoyed the most is that there is no rush, everything can be done another day and no guilt to be doing what I want to do. I can enjoy the sun in summer and if I want to sit in the sun and read I can. I am sure you will soon adapt and enjoy the freedom and it is the best time of year to do so as we head towards summer.

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  30. Sounds like a wonderful last day, Jenn. Yes, the best thing about retirement is owning your own time. Nap whenever you want... and there's always tomorrow if something doesn't get done. Enjoy!

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  31. Congratulations Jenn. I'm so happy for you. What a send-off the students and teachers gave you. Bet they all will miss you. Enjoy every minute of your retirement.

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  32. I think you may come across a period of melancholy, but that is not mandatory. It isn't an end, it's a new beginning. A bit like when the chicks fly the nest.

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  33. Oh Jenn, congratulations. I would have cried like a baby, I think. What a fabulous send-off. I love how they have the tradition of waving away the kids at the end of school and they did it to you, too. It's very clear that you were loved and made a huge impact on young lives and your colleagues. That is a gift to know -- and the reward of all you have given. Loved your family celebration, too.

    If your retirement is at all as rewarding as mine, you will find much to do and love. And who knows? Someday they may call you to be a substitute!

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