Monday, May 5, 2014

come on... make my day...

Blast from the past...  I was 21 ...  It's hard to know which one is the teacher
For the most part teaching is a one year gig.  We start in August, we end in June.  There's two months of summer and then we begin again, from scratch.  There's a cycle to the year of getting to know students, teaching them stuff, and sending them on to the next adventure.  There are students that mark us, wiggle their way into our hearts and memories, but in many ways, the years start to run together as the cycle is repeated over and over throughout our careers.  Each year is slightly different, some very hard, others more joyful, but always there is this opportunity to begin again after a couple of months of doing something else. 
It used to be true that the students largely disappeared from our lives after they graduated, became memories.  All of the students in this picture have disappeared... Now through the power of social media, I am far more connected to students from that past decade.  This month I have had the pleasure of watching many graduate from college, the high school class of 2010 becoming college graduates.  It is incredibly gratifying to know they have continued their education and pursued their dreams.  They are off on new adventures now, finding jobs, going to grad school.  I feel a sense of gratitude that I was able to be a part of their lives for a few months, that I have shared this same journey with hundreds of students over the past 28 years. 
This week I received a letter from a former student.  It was just a brief note, but it made my week.  The text of the note is below.  
  • "A few years ago in your Calc AB class you showed us the problem of the "Seven Bridges of Konigsberg". You tried to make our class solve it. You said if we ever took "Discreet Math" we would know. Well, I never solved it.

    Just so happens, 2 years later, I'm in a Discreet Math class. Studying for finals I came across that problem again. I am now aware of the devious trick you pulled on us. Props.

    Haha, anyway hope all is well! You and the rest of the math department do a great job of preparing students for college math. Give everyone there my regards and pat yourselves on the back! Hope AP exams go well and have a great summer!"

It turns out, I did the same thing to this year's class that I did to his a few years ago.  Some things never change I guess.  I wrote about it earlier this year.  You can read that post here.  

I challenge each of you to think about a teacher that made a difference in your life.  If they are still teaching, you can email them a brief note simply by accessing the school website.  Contact information for teachers is usually found there.  If they are retired, you might have to work a little harder, but hearing from you makes a huge difference in a teacher's life.

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