Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Students, My Kids

It's been over 13 years since I was a full-time, high school English and drama teacher. My former students are now turning 28 and 30 and 32 years old. They're obviously adults now. Some of them have kids. But in many ways, I still think of my students, especially my advisory students, like my kids.

The school where I taught was built around the advisory system. Your advisory was like your family. It was a way to be especially connected to one teacher and a small group of kids within the larger school setting.

I'm Facebook friends with lots of my former students. I love keeping up with what's going on in their lives. Their updates are usually cause for celebration. Way to go! I knew you would do awesome things!

But sometimes, they're sad. And I feel sad, not just because it's sad hearing anyone's bad news, but because I still feel a parental kind of connection with them. It might sound strange, but my advisory kids were my kids (before I had an actual kid of my own and stopped teaching to take care of her.)

I still care about them and how their doing and if they are happy in life.

- - - - - - - - - -

Today I'm feeling especially sad. I'm thinking about one particular student. She was one of my advisory kids, and one of my favorites.

She has a life-threatening disease. She had it back then. She missed school sometimes because of it. But, I was always hopeful that she would beat all the odds, or the doctors would make new discoveries, and she'd be cured.

That hasn't happened. Yet.

We are Facebook friends and I love to read her posts. She has a great sense of humor and is a good writer. (She always has been.)

Lately, her posts have been more serious. Her illness has been unkind this past year or so. She recently had to make the heart-wrenching decision to leave a job she loved because she is too sick to work full-time.

This is very hard for a young woman to go through. It's hard for her former teacher too.

Even though she's almost 30 years old, and clearly a grown woman, I want to hug her like a mom and reassure her.

But, I can't. And I won't.

I will send her messages, though. And when my family visits the area where she lives, you bet I'm going to get together with her, take her to dinner, she how she's doing.

- - - - - - - - -

When I first started teaching, it took me awhile to figure out that I couldn't "save" all my students. It was a hard lesson to learn. I wanted to wrap up all my kids and save them from whatever ailed them.

I still want to do this sometimes.

But, I can't. The best I could do then, and now, is try to be at least one caring adult in each kid's life.

Hopefully, that was, and will be, enough.

1 comment:

  1. I had a high school student that was valiantly fighting cancer. I often wonder what his life is like now and if I showed him enough that I cared.