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: