Saturday, June 21, 2014

Years 35 to 37: Elementary Learning Specialist for Central Valley Schools: Beginnings and Endings; I am ALL DONE now!

At this time 40 years ago, I was just beginning my career in the education field. I spent a year in classrooms by this time; 3 months with an early childhood special education program, and 6 months in a school for students with disabilities ages 6 through 21. And because I had other experiences with people with disabilities, I was ready to embark on my teaching career in this great field.

This blog has been about those 40 years and the highs, the lows; the children, the teachers; the parents and the administrators. All of my experiences have taught me about life and how to live it. I hope that in return, I have also helped others.

So this last blog entry is about beginnings and endings. Recently, a lifelong friend sent me some pictures she took when I was just starting out and getting my classroom ready. What a gift! I had never even seen these pictures, but they are perfect for this post! I look at these pictures and think, if I knew what I do now, would I still have gone into this field? I was pretty naïve back then! Young and very "green". Now I am a very "seasoned" educator. Not as naïve certainly, but hopefully not too cynical either.

This last month of work has been a whirlwind of activity and has left me with a lot of mixed emotions. A retirement celebration with co-workers from three school districts, thoughtful gifts and flowers, beautiful cards and special visits with cherished friends. A wonderful scrapbook was also given to me with pages from so many people. I even got a "social story" about how to retire! A retirement dinner for all district employees retiring this year was lovely and gave me the opportunity to once again reflect on a "beginning" and an "ending". At the conclusion of my 6 month student teaching, I received a small candy dish with my name engraved. This was my first "teacher" gift. At the dinner, I was given a large brass school bell with my name, years of service to the district and total number of years in education. I will consider this to be my last "teacher gift!

And I still had more  gifts to give and receive! Over the last three years, two baristas at Jacob's Java in the valley have been so kind and friendly. They always take the time to chat and make getting my coffee lots of fun. So I made them some coasters for their own coffee drinks.

Tricia and Nicole surprised me on my last day with additional gifts as well. There is a gift certificate to get a mani-pedi with Nicole; and a beautiful hand made quilting tool from Tricia; made by her father! Beautiful and functional! Trust me, it will get plenty of use!

 Throughout the year, when teachers were being obstinate, or meetings were tedious, etc.; I would say to Tricia and Nicole, "We are all done with that!" This got to be our inside joke of sorts, and Tricia especially had fun with it! I counted down my last 6 days of work and had one of the secretaries take a picture of me each day with the number of days left. Then on my last day, I had Tricia and Nicole hold chalkboards that said, "She is all done."

 And so I've come to the end my friends! If you've been following this blog; thank you. I hope you have enjoyed it and possibly even learned some things from it.

And now I am ALL DONE!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Years 35 to 37: Elementary Learning Specialist for Central Valley Schools: Retirement Celebration Fun!

And so I am coming to the end of my forty year journey. This week I celebrated with a wonderful retirement party hosted by my good friends Marci Haynes and Linda Murray. Despite threatening rain and some thunder and lightening, over 50 people attended from Cheney, Spokane and Central Valley School districts! We had a great time with good friends, wonderful food, a beautiful garden location, and lots of walks down memory lane.

Marci and Kim Nurvic had the idea that everyone should bring a scrapbook page to make a scrapbook. This was a great idea and the pages make me smile. I will show some next week. I think more pages are coming. It was interesting to see co-workers from three districts come together. Some people knew each other either by stories I've told about them, or through professional work. Spokane really is small enough that people do know each other from district to district! And it was so fun to reconnect with colleagues I haven't seen for many years!

My friends were very generous in remembering and congratulating me on my retirement. I received many wonderful gifts including a whopper gift card to the Buggy Barn from my CV sped friends, a personalized Thirty-One bag from my "Adams family", and beans from Kay! There's a funny story to that gift from our years together at Reid!

I also tried to give some gifts. Starting in February, I decided that I wanted to make something I could give to some of the many people I've worked with over the years. I started crocheting little hearts. I thought I would make about thirty of these, but as it turned out, I made forty-five. I also designed a card with a quote and a picture of me and my grandson walking. The quote says, "Learning is not a race for information; It's a walk of discovery." I added, "Thank you for being a part of my 40 year 'walk'." On the back of each card was a personal message. I wanted to give something back to all of the wonderful people that have added to my educational experiences over the years. I have been truly blessed by knowing them all!