Band Parents and Band Students;
The time has come for me to retire. I have had many job experiences. I have been teaching for 31 years in three provinces, from grades 1 to 13(Ontario), and adults. I have been a Principal at an International Language school at the Elementary and Secondary levels in Ontario. In my younger years, I have taught swimming, rowing, canoeing, windsurfing, figure skating, private lessons on piano, guitar, and trumpet. I have had the pleasure of teaching with some incredible people. I have gotten to meet and teach incredible students. The time has come to say goodbye.
Looking back to what would have been my last year of teaching 2020/2021, schools were dealing with Covid19 restrictions. These restrictions including staying 6 feet apart in circumference when performing an instrument, wearing a mask, the physical distance of 6 feet, circuit breakers, lockdowns, etc., caused a pause to the extra-curricular band and changed how extra-curricular band would be done safely in a classroom setting.
In March of 2021, my beloved sister Jean died after a long battle with cancer. Jean had such a kind soul. She was known to make wooden crafts for our KISH Band Candlelight Dinner, buy fundraising items that I would be selling on behalf of the band, and attended every performance of the KISH band program. Jean was a huge supporter of me and my endeavors. This was such a loss for me. What gave me joy was teaching and performing music, never more than last year.
When September 2021 was getting close, I was looking forward to the year (what would be my final year teaching), a year that I was hoping would not have restrictions from Covid19 and for once I would not be dealing with a family member suffering from cancer and dying. I was hoping I could take the band on one last band trip. However, on August 31 my husband was given a terminal diagnosis of cancer. Covid19 decided that it was not done with us and caused closures of schools in early September, changing once again how we would deal with Covid19 at school.
Teaching and creating music once again became a real source of joy for me. Dealing with the youth of life helped me. However, as October approached I made the decision to retire on November 29, 2021, at the end of a term knowing what I would have to deal with in the immediate future outside of my work. In November, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and operated on. Then on November 18th, my beloved mother passed away from a short illness. I was not prepared for that.
My last performance was the Remembrance Day Service with my senior band group and a vocal ensemble. In some ways how fitting. I started teaching at KISH in September 2004. I am grateful to have been able to come back to the island after being away from it for twenty years. What a great place to teach and live. As I reflect, I wish my students well. I will miss seeing them bloom into the people they are meant to be. I hope that Covid19 goes away and that band trips can happen again soon. I know that the performance of music is more than just that, it is who we are. “Music is the soundtrack of our life.” All the best!