Retirement speech sample

- refusing to rest honorably

I've written the retirement speech sample below to show the end result of using the step by step guidelines I wrote on 'how to write a retirement speech' and to find out just how long it took to follow my own advice!

*You can find the answer to that $64 thousand dollar question at the foot of the page.

My farewell address is fictional although it is based on first-hand knowledge of having been a high school teacher for many years.

Departures sign with caption

Speech context or background

The setting is a school assembly hall. It is the end of term. The staff and students are looking forward to long holidays and a rest.

The speaker is Jane Smith. She has taught in the same 'difficult' low socio-economic school for the last 25 years.

Farewell speech sample text

Thank-you Mr Harris {The Principal} for your wonderful introduction.

Have I really been here 25 years? That sounds like a long time ... about the same length as a double spell of English grammar on a Friday afternoon when the sun is shining. That too can seem to go on and on.

Fortunately for you I don't plan to.

I remember coming here with my brand new teacher kit. I was full of ideas, things to do to make a difference. I thought I was the teacher and you, the students were my pupils. How wrong I was.

It took a while to understand for I was a reluctant learner. My head was so full of how things 'should be', there was very little room for how things 'were'. The gap in those early days between what I thought I needed to teach and what the students actually needed to learn was wide. There were times when bridging it was difficult. There were even times when it seemed impossible and I wanted to give up.

Mr Harris has been kind in saying I gave a gift of myself; my energy, enthusiasm, honesty, respect and love, to you. But I want to turn that around and give it back, for this is precisely what I feel you have given me.

I have been privileged to have had in my classroom many, many fine young people. 25 years ago some of them began to teach me how to teach.

They helped me build the first bridges. From them I learned true teaching is a special partnership. It only really works when the teacher reaches beyond the outer image, looks into the heart, understands and respects what they see. The student's role is to allow themselves to be seen, not just for who they are, or have been, but also for who they could be.

Over the years fashion has had skirts short, long and short again. Under wear has become over wear. Hair has come, gone, been big, cropped, technicolored, bleached, curled, straightened, extended and dreadlocked. Names have not been exempt. They too reflect changing times; charting the rise of new influences whether they be pop, TV, film or sport stars, or perhaps an inspirational leader capturing hearts and minds.

Despite the altering of outward appearance and what people are called, there has always been and always will be a constant. That is the inner need to strive for what is true and right.

It is with gratitude that I look back. I entered a profession dedicated to assisting young people achieve their potential, to revealing or finding their best selves. As I leave it, I am taking many of you with me. You will live on in my memories. I'll always remember the things we achieved together: the many successful plays we put on, the speeches you gave, the debates and end of year concerts.

I've been asked what I'm going to do now. I'm going to do a lot of things and very few of them conform to the notion of retirement as a time of waiting for the inevitable end. Helen Hayes, put it this way: 'People who refuse to rest honorably on their laurels when they reach “retirement” age seem very admirable to me.'

I am going to travel to places I've always wanted to go to and haven't been. I am going to read books that have been waiting on my 'must read' list for years. I will garden, learn new skills, play with my grandchildren, visit art galleries, enjoy being around friends... In short, I plan to LIVE.

I want to pay tribute to my colleagues for their support, friendship and exemplars of what it is to serve faithfully and with humility. I will always remember our shared laughter, our joys as well as our struggles. Thank-you for the never-ending supply of black coffee in the staff-room to keep me awake and alert. Thank-you too, for the notes of appreciation, words of encouragement, sharing of resources, and time but mostly for your sincerity and trust.

And lastly, I leave you with this thought. There is only ever one of each us: one Jane Smith or one Mr Harris. We are unique. We are neither better nor less than anybody else but rather the best or least of ourselves. I am still working on finding the best of me. It is an exciting on-going journey. Thank-you for being my traveling companions along a large and important part of my way. I am forever grateful for your stimulating company and the enormous collection of shared experiences indelibly printed on my mind.

Thank-you. Happy holidays!


I hope my retirement speech sample was useful to you and you're feeling more confident now about writing your own speech.

Remember there are no set retirement speech rules - just guidelines which you can accept, alter or reject as you see fit.

Many people search for a 'free' retirement speech

The reasons for doing so are probably a combination of:

  • Thinking they don't have enough time to write a speech
  • Thinking they don't have enough talent/skill/knowledge to write a speech
  • Thinking they won't come up with interesting or witty things to say

The lure of a ready-made 'free' retirement speech is that it promises to solve all three of those problems in one stroke. The down-side is that the well publicised 'free' retirement speech has already been through many mouths before it reaches yours and to make it your own it has to be individualised. You are going to have spend time inserting and deleting information to make it 'speak' for you.

The answer, although you may not want to hear it, is to write your own.

If you're feeling apprehensive, take heart. You can do this.

Go to the 'how to write a retirement speech guidelines', the ones I used for this retirement speech sample, and start putting together what you want to say. If you need additional help there are full notes here on 'how to write a speech'

Do be sure to read through the collection of retirement quotations too.You'll find a broad and varied selection of one-liners plus verse. Some are warmly funny while others are sharp. There's sure to be something here for you.

close up of clock face

* For the time-conscious, this retirement speech sample took approximately 5 hours from planning to the form you see now. Put in perspective against many years of work, that represents a very brief token of respect for your colleagues and yourself.


Is your speech writing 'bla, bla, bland'?
Discover how action verbs make your writing vocally vibrant, succinct and precise.






Search this site:

Custom Search



Translate this page:



Recommend this site:

+1 write-out-loud.com

Page black arrow  Site black arrow



Sponsorship Advertising
Do you have a product or service that would benefit our visitors?
Find out about sponsorship advertising on this site.



Speak Up!
Ask that question
Share that tip

Use these interactive pages to help and be helpedClick and you'll find a growing collection of reader's posts on all sorts of subjects.


Speaking Out Loud Ezine
A free newsletter
for anybody who has been, or might be,
'called on to say a few words'
and wants to get them right.
Your Email

Your Name

NOW

Don't worry, your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Speaking Out Loud.



To contact me
Susan Dugdale
Please use the form on my about me page.
I'll get back to you as quickly as I can.



Speech writer for hire - button

A custom speech writing service for those special speeches