Today was the retirement party for three teachers on our staff. Some schools have a traditional retirement event, but our school doesn't, and as far as I know, never has. Every year we do something different, and it seems like people's feelings get a little bruised sometimes. So this year, in response to a request from 2 of the 3 veteran teachers retiring, a small committee formed to plan... something. In addition to planning a nice reception, we hoped that whatever it turned out to be would also be the template for an annual thing-- we wanted to start a tradition for our school.
It was a really fun party. There was food and wine, beer and music, speeches and dancing. All three of the women retiring had taught a long time, so the guest list was full of ghosts of our school past in addition to our present colleagues, and it seemed like everyone who was there understood that something a little magical was happening. We are not a particularly cohesive staff, and most often we feel defined by our differences of philosophy and opinion. That was not true this evening. We gathered in warm camaraderie to honor and celebrate our colleagues who have served long and in good faith, and by so doing, we honored each other and our profession as well. And it may have been the wine, or the women who were retiring, or the songs that the DJ played as many hands made light work of the clean up, but there was a connection among us that could not be denied.