I was chatting with a friend a while back and she described me as a “relationship person”. I took note of the comment but didn’t give it much thought at the time. Since then I have thought about that phrase a great deal.
We were talking about my job as a teacher and a new position I was offered at the school. It was a wonderful offer and a position I would like however I really was not sure if it was the right time for me to move. I struggled with this choice for weeks. After talking it over with my friend, I made a choice. I chose to stay put.
I was unsure if I had made the right choice. I am a “relationship person”. I like building relationships with the people on my life, especially my students. I enjoy seeing them grow, change and develop into wonderful young adults.
It was in the weeks that followed that I realized that I had made the right choice. Former students came back for May Crowning and told me that I was the only teacher who remembered their names. We laughed, reminisced and they told me of their future plans. It was the first of many signs that I had done the right thing.
Since then I have run into former students everywhere; the grocery, the gym, the mall, you name it. They tell me of their success and failures. They tell me of adventures. They share memories. The most important thing I notice is that I remember them all…each and every one…by name. I not only recall their names but memories from when I taught them.
I remember the 6th grader who collected all things firefighter and is now wearing the uniform himself. I remember the girl who was defiant and hard to reach as she now reaches out to others as a nurse. I recall the girl who struggled with punctuation but now researches and publishes important documents. I think of the girl who could not contain a box of crayons and now travels the world. A young man walks into the library with a load of books and I recall the boy who hated to study as he now crams for an exam. I remember a girl who needed someone to talk to and someone to believe in her as she now heads to college a confident self assured young woman. I think of those students who I don’t see or meet and wonder where they are. I worry about those students who had trouble with me all those years ago and wonder if they are still struggling. The students and memories flood my mind like the flood waters of the Amazon. It is overwhelming at times to think of the students I have taught and the lives touched. I am so proud of them all and wish I could tell each and everyone of them that they have all made me a better teacher and mother.
There are days I wonder if I am in the right profession. Meeting a former student reminds me why I really love my job. I see the result of my work in their eyes. I see the fabulous future they are creating for themselves. I see that together we create memories and ….relationships. Peace.