You see these young men and women in my photo? In the past week or so, I've had lunch with each of these kiddos, who are former students of mine. It was SO MUCH FUN to catch up with them and hear their stories. I can hardly imagine it's been FIVE YEARS since they were in my classroom every day.
I pride myself on being a teacher who can connect well with her students. I think my students know I'm genuinely interested in learning about them as people because I spend a lot of time asking them about their interests, preferences, and experiences. I do my best to use that knowledge to make my lessons relatable and engaging for them.
Those three girls in the bottom picture? I actually bumped into them while out with the boy in the top left photo last week. We definitely made a scene in the middle of Chipotle with all our excitement, but we didn't care. It was SO unexpected and fun to run into them.
They were telling me, at our lunch today, about how they still talk about my class all the time (to the point that their other friends get annoyed and tell them to shut up). I asked them if it was because it was fun or because they learned things. Immediately, they all three confirmed, "Both!" and went on to list multiple activities we did that year that they loved. In particular, I was beaming with pride to hear them say how much they LOVED my book clubs and that they've never read so much in their lives. They were even able to rattle of a list of books they read that year and recalled how they used to become obsessed with the characters and cry when they died. Proud teacher moment!
I know many districts have policies against befriending students via social media, so this is a major benefit to me since I'm no longer employed by their district. I have my students in a special group on Facebook where I can control what they see (and really... I just have to approve the things my friends post because I never post anything bad). It's allowed me to watch and cheer for them on the sidelines of life, which is a role I treasure. I love that they WANT to keep in touch and tell me about their lives, and I love that I've been able to be a support to a few students who really needed it.
On an unrelated note, I would LOVE if you would send some good vibes my way tomorrow morning because I have a second interview for a sixth grade ELA job in my town. I debated sharing this here because I'm afraid to jinx myself, but I think I need all the support I can get!