5. I love to learn from my old students. They’ve usually gone off and read books I want to read, learned things I didn’t know, and had experiences I never had, and they tell me all about them. For example, last week, a student who had been to Uganda helping out at a hospital and orphanage was telling me about his experiences. Then, another student shared with me that she had joined the Fencing team, and yet another talked to me about a book she’d read in her education class that sounded fascinating.
4. Seeing them connects me to others. I love hearing about other former students–how they are, how the gap year went, what successes they have. I’m generally the last to hear about the adventures of former students, as I’m not connected with many on social media, so meeting up with one, means I hear about ten others.
3. We can share tea like adults, and I don’t have to censor myself or pretend not to have opinions. When I teach, I try to mediate conversation and not interject my own opinions or thoughts on the matter. When I meet a student for a cup of tea, we can have a conversation like adults, and I can share my views with them. Sometimes, it surprises students to hear me voice my opinion on something. Often, it doesn’t.
2. They remember class fondly, or at least, they are appreciative of what they learned. More than once I’ve had a student say something like, “wow, I didn’t realize how much I would be prepared for college, but I’m so far ahead of my peers.” This is always gratifying, and it reassures me that in the face of so much standardized testing, I’m still teaching students necessary skills and knowledge for life beyond high school.
1. It reminds me that students are listening, especially at a time of year where I’m convinced not many of them are. Former students remind me of a specific event, or saying, or comment from class–sometimes things I had forgotten about. Not only is it funny to be reminded of memorable class jokes or situations, it is gratifying to know they listen, even when we don’t think they are.
Posted by Kate, VP secondary schools