The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

The World Is Our Campus

The Arcadia Quill

Happy Retirement, Mrs. Tedford!

Left Image: 1994 Right Image: 2024

Mrs. Liza Tedford, Arcadia High School’s (AHS) Dance Department teacher and Orchesis Assistant Director, is retiring this June after 31 years of teaching at AHS, since 1993. Studying as a dance major at UCI with a teaching emphasis and coming from a family of educators, Mrs. Tedford knew she wanted to become a dance teacher from a very young age, as she danced professionally throughout her years of experience. Through her many years of teaching, she has touched the lives of many dancers here at AHS and has positively impacted them.

When asked about how she knew she wanted to become a dance teacher, Mrs. Tedford shared how education has always been a big part of her family, specifically working in public schools.

“My goal wasn’t always just to be a teacher. Having been in dance my whole life I knew I wanted to be in dance, but it was more directed. I also come from a family of educators. So education is a big part of my family’s history, and working specifically in the public schools.”

Through the years of teaching, every teacher is sure to have something that they enjoy the most about their job.

“I think my favorite part is seeing the growth process of students, seeing them step out of their comfort zone and try something that they’re uncomfortable with or pushing themselves even when they’re not the best at it. The fortitude that it teaches you is like ‘If I can do this, I can do anything’,” Mrs. Tedford said.

“Accepting who you are and realizing what’s most important is the journey of life, and to me, that’s my parallel in teaching dance. Seeing kids try to really embrace that they’re not trying to be perfect; they’re just trying to go for it, to really open themselves up to a new perspective of something outside of their comfort zone,” she continued.

Mrs. Tedford was reminded of a specific favorite memory of hers in which she had a student who had a lot of constraints and struggled to memorize material but still really wanted to perform. Taking it as a challenge, Mrs. Tedford tried her hardest, and the student was able to successfully perform the routine.

“To see her overcome it and go for it, the pride on her face was pretty extraordinary,” she expressed.

As she’s been teaching dance for 31 years, Mrs. Tedford shared what she’ll miss the most about teaching dance here at AHS.

“Specifically, I think the teaching of dance is what I’ll miss the most. I’ll miss being really immersed in that dance world. I’ve been doing it for a really long time.”

Going on, Mrs. Tedford talked about what else she’ll miss about working at AHS.

“I think just laughing at ourselves and just those funny little interactions, the happy accidents that take us to an incredible place. It’s not so much about teaching my curriculum; it’s more about the experience of working with people and their enthusiasm,” reflected Mrs. Tedford.

Retirement can both be a joyful and bittersweet experience, and Mrs. Tedford ponders on what she plans to do after she retires.

“Everything, nothing at all, whatever I want. I want to live a much more unstructured life, I want to go when I want to go, I want to stay when I want to stay, and enjoy every moment, that’s pretty much it.”

Mrs. Tedford shared her best advice to students in general and dance students specifically.

“I think sometimes you need to stop listening to all these people that say you have to be perfect, I think there’s no such thing as perfect many times. I think trying to figure out how to develop your mental fortitude and your willingness to work hard while still enjoying the journey is my best advice,” replied Mrs. Tedford.

Through her 31 years of experience and teaching, Mrs. Tedford highlights how important it is that students saw her as a human being too and how that could be a two-way street.

“I think I’ve worked really hard to try to do a good job to the best of my ability to the highest level of integrity. I also feel like it was important that I was a human too, that my students saw me as a human being.”

Expanding on how dance has positively impacted her life, Mrs. Tedford stated how dance has shaped her life in many different ways, and how she wouldn’t be here today without it.

“Dance is by far my first and longest love and I still really love it. I feel really fortunate that I’ve been able to do that, but there have been times that have been hard, I’ve shed a tear or two, but I do think it forced me to be a leader. But teaching really taught me how to be a leader, how to say yes and how to say no and when to do that. I can’t say I have regrets, but I also am extraordinarily happy to enjoy the last chapter of my life.”

Congratulations on your retirement, Mrs. Tedford, and thank you for everything you’ve done for the dance department!

Photo courtesy of AHS Yearbook

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Arcadia Quill Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *