Yesterday I had one of those moments that makes every teacher’s heart swell with pride, I was sitting in a mall waiting for some friends to go see a movie (side note Black Panther was AMAZING!). I heard my name and looked up to see a former students rushing toward me with a big smile on her face. Although it had been over 6 years since I had seen her, I immediately recognized this lovely young woman before me. After some formal introductions to her parents and my husband, we chatted for a few minutes and I learned that not only was she graduating with honors this year, but that she had been offered a full scholarship to college. I would like to say that I had at least some small part in her accomplishments, but the truth is she was a wonderful student back in 6th grade and I have no doubt her parents were the biggest part of her success.
Listening to her plans for college was a special teacher moment. When she hugged me, as they got ready to leave, she said to me “I had to come and say hello, I just loved being in your class, you were my favorite teacher.” It is hard to put into words what really meant to me. I loved teaching in a classroom and most of all I loved my students, even the frustrating ones. I realized that after teaching approximately 120 middle school students each year for ten years, I have taught well over a thousand students. That is an incredible number but I felt something special for each and every student.
Sometimes I do miss being in a classroom, feeling the energy of thirty 6th graders, and watching their amazement as they learned something new. I get angry and frustrated at how teachers are vilified in the news and how teachers are still being unvalued and underpaid, but moments like yesterday makes me so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of my student’s lives. Even though I am no longer teaching in a classroom, my students will always be special to me and moments like yesterday are the very best part of teaching.