One of the joys of being an educator is to be reminded at times of successes that students experience and of the good things that come their way. Not of of that success relates to academics. There are social, emotional and moral/spiritual qualities that can and should grow and develop within students.
During my years as an educator I have worked with tens of thousands of students. Quite deliberately, I have never retained contact through social media. I don’t use social media accounts. However, if I read of successes they have had in later life, I will make an effort by to contract and congratulate them. That applies to successes coming the way of past students, right across the spectrum of contribution.
Often parents of past students will let me know, as we pass in the street or meet in shopping centres, about how their children are travelling. I always make it a point of passing on my regards and in most cases I remember these students. This would happen for me, in the relatively small city of Darwin, two or three times each week.
It fills me with joy when reading of successes of past students in the newspaper or via radio or television report.
One remembrance stands out. Years ago, I had in our school a student who was a very decent young man. However, he al;ways averted his eyes away when talking to others. On several occasions I invited him into my office and tutored him on the art of gaining confidence through eye contact. Years later, he came up to me in a Restaraunt, reminded me of his name (I hadn’t forgotten) and thanked me for taking the time to help him develop his eye contact skills. He was going places and was no we an aeronautical engineer. This is one anecdote but there are hundreds of others.
Not all outcomes have been rosy. Through my schools have passed thieves, burglars, rapists and murderers. I have also had the experience of having to cope with past students feeling so down on themselves that they have taken their own lives. So from time to time, I question myself as to whether I could have done anything during my time of association with them, that might have swayed them away from these courses of action.
It is our contribution to education now, that has its outcomes on the lives of people in years to come. And while unexpected it is nice be be thanked and appreciated by those whom you taught when those years do come.