My friend and colleague is retiring. Here is my letter to her.
Well, Laurie, I’m going to have trouble with this!
For now, let me thank you on behalf of everyone for your long-time great, dedicated teaching, but also for that magical period when you designed the science lab and two gardens, got chickens and bees, became a city expert on environmental education, and forged all sorts of partnerships which have sustained science teaching at Janney since then.
While the garden always seems a glorious mess to those of us responsible for it, it is a haven for students. They can overcome fear and pet a chicken, dig a worm, make a fairy house with friends, plant and harvest something to eat, see pollination in action and collect the seed pods later, or just wander while sucking on a mint leaf. I now feel sorry for any child who doesn’t grow up with such a place.
I could list so many initiatives you took on and efforts you sustained. You are the “fountain, not the drain”, the person who says “yes.” “ Yes, I’ll get that for you,” “ yes, we’ll try that,” “ yes, I’ll help you.” Especially that last one- Yes, I’ll help you- to me, to colleagues and ALWAYS to students. First, you make their science learning so real and then you help them whenever they need it.
I’ll miss you at recycling in the morning, I’ll miss you in the lab, or passing in the hallway with carts of weird lesson materials. I’ll miss you at the garden market, guiding some of the most- shall we say- quirky children to success through hawking veggies and handling money.
I’ll miss you so much as a treasured colleague, but I’m going to keep you as a friend.