Sunday, January 28, 2007

When Previous Students Come to Visit

I have several students each year that show up at my door sometimes after school and sometimes during school to say hello. I’m always pleased they take time from their busy middle and high school lives to walk to the end of the long hallway where my classroom sits to say hello. It always amazes me how much they have grown and how articulate many sound as they tell me about their classes, their current teachers, and their future plans.

This past week I received a nice email from the education teacher at the technical highschool. She was informing me that one of her education students had requested me for her internship and they would be arriving to discuss the program with me that very afternoon. I’ve had high school students before and have enjoyed the program very much. I think it’s fantastic that young people who plan to go into education receive opportunities to work in classrooms prior to college. The experience can give them the information they need about continuing with their education plans, or it can prompt them to look for another field of study.

My former student, Miss Hensley, arrived with her teacher and we had a quick meet and greet. It will be hard to refer to sweet Laura as Miss Hensley to the kids because she will always be sweet Laura to me. Miss Hensley will be in my classroom during the last two hours of the day when I have my homeroom for Language Arts. I could use an extra set of hands with the group, and by her second day she had picked up on that fact. She will be with me for the remainder of the year.

We’ve already had a nice time remembering many of the interesting things that happened the year she was in my class. She asked if I was still doing Shakespeare with students and I told her she could help me teach Hamlet and A Midsummer’s Night Dream this time instead of simply taking a part. She remembered we watched Hamlet with Mel Gibson after we had read a more simpler version of the play (no, students did not watch the scene where the relationship between Hamlet and his mother, Glenn Close, takes a strange turn). Miss Hensley also remembered she took on the role of Puck in Midsummer.

My students enjoyed locating Laura’s picture in the back of the classroom where I have each and every class group I’ve taught displayed on the wall. Miss Hensley enjoyed looking at the pictures as well. She informed me about some of the kids….who had dropped out, who played ball, etc. Miss Hensley told me she still had my letter. She was referring to the letter I give every student at the end of the year. I was pleased to know she had held onto my letter for the last seven years. I posted earlier about my end-of-the-letter here.

Miss Hensley’s arrival has created an interesting dynamic in my classroom…..the former student is now a teacher-in-training. I told her I would really love for her to journal her experience. Every student leaves a classroom with certain impressions of his or her teacher. Miss Hensley is returning to my room with those same impressions made when she was ten and eleven. Through the course of our time together as mentor and teacher-in-training she is going to discover that many of her impressions of me were wrong….some to the good and some to the bad. She seems hesitant about an extra assignment, but I think it would be a very interesting study.

1 comment:

Butterfly Angel said...

It alwyas touches my heart to see former students for the same reasons that you mentioned. You have this pictured frozen in your mind when they were in your class ~ it is hard to believe how they grow and mature.

My youngest was on a retreat earlier this month and I had to pick her up from church. Quite a few members of the 'team' turned out to be former students. They all told my daughter: 'your mom was a cool teacher!' Talk about a boost to the ego.

I am glad that Miss Hensley will be there to help you and this way she gets to decide early on if this is what she wants to do with her life.

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