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COVID Retirement Party

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by thejudgesscoresarein, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    I am retiring from my role as Headteacher next month and was just wondering if there are any fellow educational professionals out there who are planning to hold some sort of ‘retirement party’ and if so, what are their plans?

    In usual circumstances, it would be a staff meal but with the current situation, I think that’s going to be pretty much impossible, and even if pubs and restaurants do re-open in July, they will be extremely busy and possibly impossible to make large bookings.

    My thought process at the moment is a BBQ for staff in playground- where you are able to ‘socially distance’.
    I’ve been at this school for 27 years, 23 as the HT so want to use it as an opportunity to celebrate with and thank colleagues (past and present) for their hard work over the years.
  2. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    Although I can understand why you might want to do this, I think that under the current situation, it would be a wrong decision.
    How would you feel if, a week after your bbq, some of your staff came down with Covid?
    I definitely wouldn’t do it.
    Lara mfl 05 and eljefeb90 like this.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Just leave it. Its not importatnt to anyone else, only you. It will just be a strain and a worry on everybody else. Just chalk it up as one of the (more triavial) things lost to covid-19. Maybe plan on coming back to join in with the goodbyes at the end of next year or the year after.
    Lara mfl 05 and eljefeb90 like this.
  4. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    A very nice sentiment, but I can see that it would be difficult for some people to attend . As others have said, now is not the appropriate time . Indeed, it will create ill feeling locally if word gets out that the Head is having a retirement party on site when schools are not open to all students. Can you imagine how it could be misrepresented in the press or on online social media?
  5. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Whilst I agree that a 'party' of any sort is open to misinterpretation I don't think that a retirement impacts solely on the person retiring. A colleague left, after about 18 years co-working (not to retire but to travel) during the pandemic and a number of us have missed the opportunity to say farewell. Yes, you can sign a card or phone but there's something about being able to have a few words face to face too. So I can see why the OP and colleagues may want to mark the event - just difficult to see how that can be done at this time unfortunately.
    strawbs likes this.
  6. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Would an online party be feasible? I know it's not the same, but this is how a lot of us have been celebrating birthdays etc. With a date in the diary for a meal (subject to vaccine etc)?
    emerald52 likes this.
  7. Treacle3

    Treacle3 New commenter

    Yes, leave it for now. The wrong thing to do at the moment as discussed above. It will cause uneasiness at best and bad feeling at worst - not what any retirement party should do. Plan something for when things are "back to normal". Those that really care will still come to a leaving do in 6 months - and those that don't then come...does it matter? Both you and they will have moved on in their lives. We have a similar situation with a planned 25th wedding anniversary party in late July. May be possible in theory to hold it outdoors at home - but we've decided to postpone it to "later in the year". It's not that important compared to what's going on in the world.
    eljefeb90 and strawbs like this.
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    People have had to give up an awful lot over recent months and I think parties don't make it onto anyone's "essential" list. I don't think many would accept the invitation so it would be better to bow out gracefully in a different way. Individual letters to staff in the last week of term might be really nice - depending how many staff you have of course. They might invite you out once things are more relaxed - Christmas maybe.
  9. seasoned

    seasoned New commenter

    We're all different....but I took early retirement three years ago and didn't want or have a retirement party......but I had my own party in the car as I drove out of the school car park for the last time.... :)
  10. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    I know exactly what you mean. Although I had a feeling of unreality on my last day, my overriding feeling was one of elation. This was not the case for my colleagues as my SLT had mismanaged recruiting a replacement for me and my department knew that my departure would leave them in the mire. The vast majority were indifferent, of course. Several were envious. I still feel I have to tread carefully when around former colleagues who still teach as my life in retirement is so stress- free . Indeed, one of the most dispiriting things in my last decade of teaching was the lack of solidarity and support amongst teachers themselves. 'Support' often became an exercise in fault finding. Pressure created a toxic culture of having to constantly justify yourself and watch your back. I know that not all schools are like this but all retirement parties I have been to have been pretty dire.
    seasoned and catmother like this.
  11. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Thank you all for your advice- I’m going to scrap the idea of a retirement BBQ in school - instead I’m going to send an e-mail to all members of staff to thank them for their contribution and buy a couple of gifts for the staff room. I would come back to see the staff at Christmas, but I plan to be over in Tenerife then, so I’ll be back next year at some point to catch up with colleagues.
  12. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    @eljefeb90 I could have written this word for word,apart from the mismanaging my replacement bit.
    eljefeb90 likes this.
  13. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Thanks! I always felt I was a positive and mainly successful teacher so it was sad to feel so desperate to leave. I really pity those who are still teaching . The staff room camaraderie used to keep us sane but that has long gone.
  14. Treacle3

    Treacle3 New commenter

    I would add that there appears to be a culture amongst younger staff to "compete" with other staff in a "no holds barred" kind of way where nearly every sort of behaviour is deemed acceptable - because one is "trying to get on in one's career"...Doing what's morally right and showing empathy towards staff who have difficulties of one kind or another can be disregarded because of this headlong career path pursuit.
    Mind you, my generation of parents and teachers must have brought them up to behave in such a way, I guess:(
    eljefeb90 and catmother like this.
  15. Alfieflees3

    Alfieflees3 New commenter

    Another thought for you to consider. I retired just before Easter ,at the Start of Covid having worked at the school for 10 years as a head. I bought everyone pizzas at lunch which we ate socially distanced, they presented me with a gift and I gave a short tearful speech. Not all of the staff were present just the staff who were working that day. It worked really well , very sad not to say a proper farewell to parents and children but on a positive it saved a lot of tears .
    Sundaytrekker likes this.
  16. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

  17. ACOYEAR8

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I would think that the emotional commitment of any teacher, let alone HTs would be enough to produce at least one lachrymose moment. I've seen the most hardened of people turning away from the audience and even just walking away, their head shaking. I'm definitely looking how to avoid this when my time cometh.
  18. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Yes. That used to be the case. Unfortunately, in the latter part of my career , the dominant emotions expressed by those on the cusp of retirement were relief or occasional bitterness.
    The speeches made by the former were often hilarious but I have heard too many sad and embittered retirement speeches.Tears were shed amongst some amongst the staff. Perhaps it was just the school I was at.
    seasoned likes this.
  19. diddydave

    diddydave Established commenter

    No, when we went I was 2nd last in the speeches queue as only one person had served longer than myself...the other being my wife...it's not often, I'm glad to say, that I've reduced her to tears but this was the most recent (there were other tears in the room at the end but I think probably in sympathy with her rather than my efforts)
    eljefeb90 likes this.
  20. seasoned

    seasoned New commenter

    In my experience no one's really interested in listening to retirement speeches. During my final week I spoke personally to particular staff I had professional respect for and who had been supportive over the years; I then sent a whole staff email with my thoughts and feelings. On my last day, I went up & shook the head's hand & thanked him for his kind words. I then wished everyone a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.
    littlevanner, emerald52 and eljefeb90 like this.

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