Go hug a teacher

As I was eating my lunch in the lounge, I watched a young man in his twenties as he thanked two of his former teachers. It was so sweet to hear them catch up and to see what joy this encounter was bringing to my colleagues!

I've never had the experience of running into a former student. I mean, I only started teaching five years ago and so my oldest students are now finishing their eighth grade year! And I imagine that with all of the moving around we do, it might take some serious detective work to track me down! But one day I hope to have this experience. To see a student all grown up and discover what they've made of themselves. To feel at least some sense of pride and joy in the tiny part that I played in their lives.

And hopefully this desire of mine will inspire me to be a better teacher. I don't mean to be quicker at grading papers, or to get better at planning ahead of time, or to provide more opportunities for real reading and writing (not that those things aren't important!). I mean to be more intentional in my interactions with my students.

When you think back to your favorite teacher, you probably aren't going to remember what they taught you; you're going to remember that they cared about you. That they motivated, inspired, challenged, and encouraged you.

This is the heart of teaching.

13 comments:

KS said...

I think you are right, I don't remember what I was taught specifically but I remember that they cared and that I was important.

I love my kids teachers. I really want them to know how much they have added to our lives.

Thanks for your input on my blog. Blondieblueeyes

Ms. LaPointe said...

Thanks for writing this post ! As a "veteran" teacher, I've had the pleasure of hearing from many of my former students and in fact, I consider myself fortunate to now count some of them as dear friends.

Because I teach high school, I meet students as they are preparing to go out into the world as young adults and many keep me updated on their lives long after they graduate.

The bond between a teacher and his or her students is an important one, which is why I strive professionally to foster a positive and supportive teacher/student relationship and am so pleased when that relationship grows beyond the classroom into a friendship after graduation.

I truly believe that the most important thing we can give our students is our respect and understanding!

Shell said...

I got to see some of my former students recently- the oldest of them having just graduated from college and quite a few who are juniors in high school. It was sweet to see them again.

Melissa said...

You are definitely right. If we move back to Florida, I am going to look up my teachers.

I do remember some things they taught me, but I remember their statements of belief in me more than anything. My journalism teacher pushed me to go to an International Baccalaureate program when no one else was. I met my future husband there! I wonder what he would think of my blog...

I'm so glad to read your posts. Your heart is so obviously in your work. It gives me a lot of confidence in sending my own children to school.

Did you hear about the mess in Florida? They were trying to pass a bill to wage teacher's salaries on how well their students did on standardized tests. I don't think it was passed, but perhaps they should look to parents instead of teachers for better state scores.

Sarah said...

I'm glad you all agree! I'm kinda jealous of high school teachers for that very reason - you get to see what becomes of your students much more quickly than an elementary teacher.

And Melissa, that bill is all kinds of wrong! As a nation, we've got to stop putting all of our eggs in the standardized test basket...

sheila said...

Hello I am visiting your blog through blog frog and following. I am a Gourmet Cupboard Distributor. Always nice to meet new blogging friends!

A 2 Z said...

My hand is raised just to tell you that was a great post. Of course I'm also a teacher. I teach French! It would also make my year when a student would write me a little note to say how much he/she appreciated me. Keep up your good work A+

Anne-Marie

PS My blog is about everything except teaching, its an estrogen explosion LOL Visiting from SITS

Anonymous said...

You are so right on. dad

Sharlene T. said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I reviewed my favorite teachers and discovered what I remembered most was their catch phrases meant to guide you through life. Ex:"Today's dirt is clean dirt; if it's there, tomorrow, it's dirty dirt!" -- Mr. Wright.
Just saying hello to a fellow "SITSta!" Love your blog. Come visit, when you can and help me save the planet!

Holly Renee said...

Beautiful! How awesome that this man came back to see his teachers. I've gone back to visit one of my high school teachers that really changed my life. I think what you do is amazing, and it's nice to hear that you really want to impact these kids. Kudos!!

mhutchinson said...

I work in a K-12 school- used to teach the first grade and have been here 20 years so I have had the gift- and it really is one of the main reasons I love this school- of seeing boys grow up- graduate- and return frequently. hugs a go go- and lots of news- wonderful!

Ellen Marie "Mama" Pike said...

I love this post. I recently had the opportunity to see my beloved fifth grade teacher, Mr. Apple, and thank him for his influence in my life. I was 51 years old at the time!

The teachers that stand out in my mind are those who made the extra effort to show they cared. To me, that is what teaching...and life...is all about.

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

I had a drama/art teacher in high school who I love so much. I have seen him several times since I graduated and it always make my heart soar to visit with him. He is incredible! You are absolutely correct. The things I will always remember about him have nothing to do with art or drama. He is a wonderful friend.

You'll have that experience one day, when one of your students finds you, and I hope it's awesome!

Newer Posts Older Posts Home