Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Retirement "Party"

To the children and families, faculty and staff of the Greatest School on Earth,
So many folks recently have asked me about plans for my retirement “party,” so I thought it might be better to share in one simple response.  For those of you that may be new, and anyone that could possibly not know, I will be retiring on January 29, 2016 after 40 years of teaching.  I guess in so many ways that is a lot to celebrate. Hard to believe it's been 40 years!  I certainly need to celebrate how fortunate I have been to love my job all these years!  They say it’s not work when you live your passion and that certainly has been my story. I have looked forward to getting up and coming to school almost every single day from my first day as a self-contained Special Education teacher in a little school in my hometown of Florence, SC,  to my ten years at Alimacani with my daughter in tow, to these “golden” years at Chets Creek.

My story has been like a lot of  teachers who spend their entire adult years in a classroom, but unlike most teachers, I had the amazing opportunity to represent teachers in Florida for an entire year.  During that year I was celebrated in ways that few teachers get to experience.  Many of you were with me the night Marvine almost fell out of the balcony in excitement when I was named Duval’s Teacher of the Year.  Some of you were there for the state announcement, and then so many of you came to celebrate my homecoming that first time I returned to Chets –you sent a limo as I recall!  You made me feel like a celebrity – a “queen!”  So many of you sent me cards and e-mails and notes -  throughout that entire year!  You even followed my daily journeys with a map in the school office. It wasn’t just you, but so many teachers who had been administrators, mentors and friends from other schools throughout my entire career reached out during that year. I even heard from a teacher who taught me when I was a student!   I think I heard from every child and family that year that I had ever taught and was often left in tears when a grown man or women remembered me as their teacher.  You have celebrated me in pictures, slide shows, videos… and skits!  I have no secrets (at least not anymore!) When I came home after that year, the celebrations continued.  You celebrated when I turned 60 (although I’m still not sure why we celebrated that!)  You celebrated with me as each of my children married and when I became a grandmother.  You too often have honored me, deserving or not,  with awards at the end of the year.  And… I guess when it’s all said and done… I have enjoyed it all.  Who wouldn’t?

But now…  I am coming to the end.  I really don’t need a “party” to remind me of the deep friendships that I have made on this journey or of those of you who have transformed my life.  I will hold those memories in my heart always and forever.   I don’t even need the children to tell me if I have made a difference, because  I have always known that children who have entered my room have come by Divine appointment.  Originally I was egotistical enough to think they came because there was something that I was supposed to teach them, but I soon realized that they came all too often because of what they were supposed to teach me!  Besides, I have been so fortunate, from the very beginning, that I have always known that this was God’s plan for me, so it has never been my glory to claim.  

So... it has become the tradition at Chets,  that as teachers retire, they are honored with a simple (I said simple, KK!) breakfast on the morning of their retirement.  So it should be with me. I hope you will join me for a few moments to laugh and reflect and reminisce.  Nothing fancy – nothing stressful – just joyful fellowship.    And then as the day closes, “clap me out” as you have so many other teachers and students who have left through these doors… with memories to last a lifetime and love overflowing…  and knowing that as this chapter closes, another joyful chapter will begin…  for this book is not yet complete…


Maria Mallon & Cheryl Dillard said...

Oh dayley,
You will forever be a part of our lives. You defended us when our team was a little rowdy, or bossy, or opinionated. "We just have too many chiefs," you used to say. You were our North Star who showed us the way - to be a little more understanding, a little more thoughtful, a little more considerate of others and what they might be going through. You taught us how to do what is right for our students and what would help them the most.
When I think of your retirement party, I think it's us who need it - to celebrate all we have learned. in an "oh so gentle way", from you - our dayley our queen in more ways that one. Love you dayle!!! MM

Anonymous said...

I don't think I would have survived the first month without you. You have shared with me, taught me, challenged me, supported me, encouraged me, laughed with me, cried with me and grieved with me. I am forever changed by you and can not imagine Chets without you.

I will clap you out, but I will not be happy about it๐Ÿ’œ


Melissa Parker said...


I'm so thankful to have spent a day with you as a substitute teacher last year, to have been interviewed by this past summer and to be able to spend time at the Greatest School on Earth with you your last semester. The teaching profession has been so fortunate to have you over the last 40 years. I wish you all of the best these last couple of months have to offer and all of the best in your retired years to come.

Melissa Parker

Laurie Justo said...

I cannot imagine our school with you not in it. What will we do? Thank you for sharing your love of reading with me. Your story is inspiring! I can't wait to hear about your new adventures in your life after Chets.
Laurie :)

Mrs. Patricia Wallace said...


So, at what time is this breakfast? 7:00 AM? I'm not sure a breakfast will be enough time to celebrate YOU!

It seems like it was yesterday you mentioned that you just signed the paperwork for "drop." So, I don't understand how there's an actual date coming up in a few weeks. Regardless, it has truly been an honor to work with you.

I can't wait to read all about your new adventures!

Love always,

Anonymous said...

Simple and KK do not go hand in hand :) We will roll out the red carpet and treat you like royalty. You are the "QUEEN" after all! I'm sure they'll serve tea and crumpets.

You are so accomplished! You are an outstanding teacher to the kids AND the faculty, but it is your heart that you'll be remembered for most. Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. It has been an absolute honor to work beside you and learn from you and your experiences.
~Lourdes :)

J. Shaffer said...

You are amazing Dayle and I can't imagine our school with you not in it! We will miss you! And look forward to hearing all about your new adventures! Best wishes!

Nina Lyons said...

You are one of the most incredible people I think I'll ever come across. I could read your writing for hours and just soak up every bit of knowledge you have. What an amazing privilege to be able to work with you and learn from you, I feel truly blessed to have been able to work on the same team with you. Chets won't be the same without you, BUT I'm so excited for your new journey in life. <3