Today two of my former students, currently a senior & junior in high school, stopped by to see me. It is always so uplifting to see kids you used to teach; I value my relationships with my students and it's hard when they graduate and move on. But seeing them again, even years later, is always a reminder of those bonds.
One of my former students had the most complimentary remarks to make about my teaching and his two-year experience in my class. I literally had to hold back tears; teaching is an unbelievably challenging profession, and it's easy to question your impact on a day-to-day basis. And then there's this young adult in front of you-- an 18 year old who's clearly matured and grown up-- and he can reflect in a way he never could have when you knew him at 13 about what he learned from you. It's such a powerful reminder of how influential an educator is in the lives of their students, and totally reaffirmed to me that what I do everyday does make a difference.
I remember so many of my students, even though I know I have likely disappeared into the recesses of their memories-- just another teacher, another name in the list of the many they've had over the course of their lives. I am always so grateful for the ones who come back, who reinvigorate me and my work with my current students, and for letting me, even just momentarily, be a part of their lives again.