Once you are my student, you are always mine. You are one of my kids. You become part of this underground society of brave souls who entered Room 14 and survived. We are bonded by our experiences together. Only we know how that year truly went, regardless of test scores and grades. That’s not what we remember.
We remember that one time that the hamster got out of the cage and the teacher lost her mind and ran around the room with a yard stick and finally convinced a kid to trap it in the cubbies and then capture it with a shoe box.
We remember jamming out together to Michael Jackson and Journey during transition songs, air guitar included.
We remember that awesome moment when the entire class cried at the end of Stone Fox. Or the time that everyone gasped in outrage because The Hating Man was really Mr. Talbot and he was just testing Nina and we felt like we had just been Jedi mind-tricked by the author.
Only we remember when you called me mom, when you cried because you were stressed about a test, when I cried because my grandma was sick, or when you actually used that strategy I taught you that one time (750 times).
Once you are my student I have stock in you. I have an investment in, not just your academic future, but your future as a real human. I care about your feelings. I see you for all of you. I want you to come back and see me. I want you to share your ups and downs and trust in me to mentor you through any number of moments in your life.
I will tutor you when you need it. I will come to your ballet recital and your baseball game. I will beam with pride as I cheer you on at a spelling bee. I will listen to your stories of 4th grade drama. I am always open for hugs, whenever you need them, for whatever reason you need them, no questions asked.
Once you are mine, once I have poked, proded and tortured you, embarrassed you and laughed with you I cannot erase your footprints from my heart. I may be the teacher in this labeled equation (you know I love labels) but you are the treasure and you are worth more than you realize.