If you are now or ever have been a teacher, you know the great joy of witnessing what happens to your students after they have moved on beyond your classroom. Whether your charges were kindergartners or grad students working toward their doctoral degrees, adolescents coping with middle school, high schoolers anxious of that next big step in their lives, the feeling is akin to proud parenthood, and it is undeniably pleasurable. You will remember them as they move on. Some of them will remain with you for the rest of your life.
Some of us retired teachers get to experience the added joy of seeing former students, seeking out in our travels to renew old friendships over a meal. What a blessing.
We retired teachers receive affectionate messages tucked in greeting cards and letters from some of our former students, particularly at this time of year. Many include photos of their spouses and families. Every one of them brings happy memories.
What in particular do these ex-students remember when they think of us? Some still do carry with them specific lessons learned in our classes, and a few even confess to holding on to old papers you returned to them in years past, bearing your grade and handwritten comments. You helped them discover their own talents and intellects and how to develop them. You freely shared both information and wisdom. Believe it or not, some of that stuck.
The most important gift you gave them was yourself, and this is what they recall when they think of you. What your former students remember most is you, the person, who saw them as the real individuals they were, and are, and you treated them with respect and affection. And they are grateful.
What they might not full appreciate is how much we received from them, what they gave us then and continue to give us now as we remember them.
One thought on “The joy of remembering”
I’m not surprised you are remembered fondly and with gratitude by the students you’ve guided through the years. You were a fine teacher of journalism skills, but you were ALSO a compassionate, caring person. That you were and are a “good man” (which can be amazingly high praise) always shone through. Merry Christmas to you, your family, and all the people you love. –Sharon Weaver