“As teachers, we get to play a role in the development of the lives of our kids. More often than not, the role we play is small but, if we do it right, the role has meaning. And when we are lucky, we get to know the adults our students become.”
I really love keeping in touch with former students. It is amazing to watch them grow into adults and see what they become. It is a lot like creating a cake in the kitchen. You add all the ingredients and put it in the oven, but you are never really sure what the final results will be. You hope the cake comes out looking beautiful and not lopsided or burnt.
As a teacher, I try to give my students keys to open learning. Hopefully they will continue to learn after they leave the classroom. Besides teaching them the content that I think they should know, I also try to teach them how to learn. I want them to know how to find out the information they need when I am no longer around them. This is as important as learning the content at the time.
It is truly heartwarming when students contact me and let me know about the careers, their personal lives and loves, and about the new things they have learned. Some of my former students now have children who have graduated high school and boy, does that make me feel old! But I feel so rewarded to know that they not only are still learning but encouraging learning to a new generation.
I like to share with my current students stories about my former students. I want them to see how once they are in my class, they become part of my family. I want them to know that teaching and learning is a personal thing to me and that their success is also a personal thing to me.
So, I encourage teachers to find a way to stay in contact with former students and their parents. I encourage students to stay in touch with their favorite teachers.