Retirement parties make some people sad because not only do they bid farewell to someone they have seen working with them or teaching them, but also because they know that they will also walk that path one day. It brings out the sad irony of life. However, instead of thinking about how much the retiree will be missed, try to focus on making the farewell party the best day of his life.
It’s quite difficult to plan a retirement party for a teacher because there will always be something you could have done (or not) to make it even better but if you have taken the responsibility of planning it, you might as well give it your best shot. Themed parties always guarantee fun but when deciding on a theme, make sure you stick to it throughout, be it with the food or the entertainment. Here are a couple of party themes you can think about:
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Theme it around the 80’s
Celebrate man’s search and re-evaluation of his identity from the 80’s. Your teacher can begin his search for a new identity with this theme. Keep the decor simple but fun. Cover the walls with movie posters and LPs. You can also put a disco ball in the centre of room. Don’t miss out on Pac Man! Keep the food simple and carefree (like the 80’s), just like your mother made it. This theme is supposed to take them to the good old 80’s era. Play tracks by Michael Jackson and Madonna to get the crowd moving.
A walk down memory lane
This theme focuses on his memories in the school. Put enlarged class photos of his previous classes on the walls. Balloons and streamers are good for decoration. Prepare a photo montage. If you can make a list of his favorite cafeteria food (that’s the tough part), choose some items from there for the menu. Play tracks from the 1980’s and 1990’s to get people swinging.
Center it around his hobby
If you know what his hobby is, focus the theme around it. You will have to ask him questions about his hobby in advance though so that he doesn’t suspect the party. Focus the decorations around the theme. If he likes gadgets, put posters of mobile phones, iPads, Ninetendo’s, etc on the wall. Use your creativity and make something that resembles a gadget to keep the food in. You can also make cutouts of gadgets to hang in the room. Get a list of his favorite items and put them on the menu. Play songs from his favorite genre.
Hollywood movie theme
Have you seen ‘The Dead Poet’s Society’ or ‘The School of Rock’? I am sure you have. If your teacher is even half as inspiring as the teachers in the movies, this is the theme for you. Put posters from these movies on the wall. Place a guitar in a visible corner. Blow some balloons and paste a couple of books with the pages torn on the walls. Ask for everyone’s opinion on the kind of food they’d like. There is no specific food idea for this theme. Write a song, ask someone to play the guitar and sing it for him. Everyone who’s been inspired by him can also share their experience.
If the retiree was an english teacher, the theme can be about novels, short stories and authors. Decorate the walls with giant novels, posters of short plays and balloons. The napkin holders can have pens attached to them and everyone can dress up as their favorite character. The food should belong to a literary era, be it modern, post-modern or victorian. I think contemporary is always the easiest. Couple dancing on classical music can be a good source of fun and everyone can read a quote that reminds them of the teacher.
The old school theme
Take him back to the days when he had just started teaching in the school. Decorate the room to resemble a classroom from those days. Get bright balloons and cutouts of stationary from that decade to decorate it. Ask everyone to dress up like a student from that era. The Internet can help you to look the part of a student from the 1970’s or 80’s. You can place scattered books everywhere and streamers as well. Keep the food simple and holistic. Include sandwiches, burgers and coke. Play the time tested game of truth and dare. You can plan a quiz to see how well he knows his students and vice versa. The music will have to be in sync with the era.
Go back to the basics
You can go one step ahead and make him feel like a student. Take him back to his childhood when the world was strange and innocent. If you can get pictures of his childhood from him on a fake pretext, blow them up to decorate the walls. Serve ice creams, sodas, french fries, chips and basically every kind of junk food imaginable. Let him feel like a kid again. For entertainment, you can hire a clown but if that idea is too much for you, then you can put up a magic show (it’s all about making him feel like a kid).
Dance parties are enjoyed by the young and old alike. Decorate the place brightly, get some flood lights and arrange for a dance floor. Blow a lot of balloons and scatter them around. Fill some of them with helium so that they float at the top. Keep the food fun and simple and make sure there’s punch. After all, what’s a prom without some punch? Give him his last prom. Make sure the music is loud and select tracks from different genres.
You can also plan the theme of the party on the basis of the subject your teacher used to teach. If he was a math teacher, decorate the rooms with posters of equations and trigonometric formulas. Balloons are a must at every party but you can fill all of them with helium so that they float on the top. Plan a menu keeping your teachers choice in mind. Ask all the students to contribute by sharing their feelings and messages.
This theme is a more narrowed down version of the 80’s theme. The disco inferno will never pass, especially for those who have lived in that era. Decorations will have to include a dance floor and a disco ball. Decorate the doors and windows with a curtain of silver trimmings. You can also try to arrange a disco arch for everyone to pose around. Encourage everyone to wear their shiniest, most sparkly clothes ever! Make sure you wear the loud hair! The menu can be based on the retirees favorite cuisine. The music has to be restricted to the 80’s but when has that ever been a bad thing! This theme is all about energy and spunk!
This is a great party idea for a situation where everyone has an opinion. Everyone can write one thing they want most at the party be it regarding the decorations, the food or the entertainment and then put it in a bag. The party can be planned following as many of those suggestions as possible.
A Greek assembly
Go Greek on this party idea. It can be quite relevant if the retiree is a history teacher. Posters of columns can be put on the walls to make the classroom look like an ancient Greek gathering place. You can have fake vines hanging around to resemble the ruins. Dress like them in robes (make sure you aren’t wearing ONLY robes). Needless to say, the food should be completely Greek. You can set up a small bowling area to bowl. You can also have a torch lighting ceremony like the ancient Greeks for fun. The music can be anything of your choice to combine the ancient with the contemporary. You can also make name tags of different Greek gods and goddesses for everyone to wear.
A day from the future
Give him a taste of what the future holds for him. Dress in metallic colors. You can also make robot/alien masks for everyone to wear for fun. People can also dress up as aliens. Decorate the room with spaceship posters, blown up images from star trek. Hang metal balls and silver stars from the ceiling. Arrange some neon lights because they can look like laser beams. The food can be shaped to resemble things from the future like capsules and space shuttles (a burger can play a convincing role of a space shuttle). As for the music, go techno and trance!
Go for it!
If your teacher is upset about retiring, give him some motivation and throw him a grand party to show him how amazing his life will become post retirement. There is no particular dress code or food menu for this theme. This theme is all about relaxation and no planning so talk to the others involved and decide the kind of food you would like to have. Play some fun games like truth and dare or pin the tail on the teacher. Just like the theme, keep the music casual and relaxed.
If your teacher always wanted to go to Hawaii, bring Hawaii down to your classroom. Make lei and grass hula skirts for everyone to wear. Encourage everyone to wear Aloha shirts and flip flops. Make the food counter look like a shack and serve coconut water in green coconuts. You can keep traditional Hawaiian dishes like tako poke, lomi lomi salmon, kalua pork and steamed rice on the menu. The music has to be Hawaiian. One of you can also put up a hula show for the teacher.