Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes, you get to see them again.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: One of the weirdest things about my job as a teacher is that, after we do our work and hopefully cram some ideas into kids' heads, chances are we never see them again (at least in any meaningful kind of way). Only rarely do you get to see the fruits of your labour, years afterward.

Today was one such experience.

Several years ago, in this post (the first part) I told you about a girl I taught who cut me off, mid-sentence, to ask me if I was wearing coloured contacts; when I said I wasn't, she expressed astonishment at how blue my eyes were. (I ain't gonna lie, they're a pretty good feature.)

During third period today, I zipped out of my grade 10 class — seriously, you could put a cardboard cutout of me up at the front of the room and they'd still do their work — to wheel a few computers down the hall into a storage room. On my way I saw three girls lazily walking down the hall, not really in a hurry to get anywhere; I didn't look too closely to see who they were, so I told them my standard thing, "C'mon now, time to get going back to class." They didn't really respond with much, so I just kept going about my business.

After I'd put the computers away, I was passing back through and one of the girls said, "Hey, don't you recognize me?" (N.B. that's the LAST thing ANY male wants to hear from ANY female, regardless of (a.) where you are, (b.) who she is, and (c.) how little you actually do remember her.) I paused for a minute, and it started to come back... indeed, I'd taught her and both her friends. I couldn't immediately place the name, though. We chatted for a bit, then I went back to the classroom to grab more computers.

As I was getting those other carts, it struck me: that was the blue-eyes girl! When I came back around and saw them again, I said to her, "I taught you grade 10 applied science, in that room down there. You sat in the front row and once asked me if I was wearing coloured contacts." The look on her face was priceless. "Oh yeah! I can't believe you remembered that!" (Not bad, eh? That was in the fall of 2006, by the way, over five years ago.)

The four of us chatted for a bit. Blue-Eyes was going to York and taking political science; one of the others is at UofT for something-or-other, and the third (who I taught the only time I ever taught summer school; I later taught her younger sister) is at Ryerson studying social work, and all of them are just finishing up third year. All three of them were nice teenagers, and they're turning into fine young adults — as far as a five-minute conversation can reveal. (I dunno, though, I'm usually pretty decent at detecting BS.)

At any rate, it was a lovely reunion, and completely by accident. Life's like that sometimes, though.

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