Significant fringe benefits

Tonight Elysha and I had dinner with Allison, a former student who was in my class for second and third grade. After dinner she helped me choose the date for the next A-Mattzing Race and then assisted Elysha in giving Clara a bath. Then Elysha and I headed out to the Connecticut Forum while Allison stayed behind to babysit. Last week Allison served as one of the judges for my science fair.

Earlier in the week a student from Allison’s second grade class asked for help on his college essay. He needed a teacher’s opinion on the appropriateness of sex education in elementary school and interviewed me for the assignment.

Another former student, also in college, wrote to me earlier this week and informed me that her second and third grade Shakespearean studies are still paying dividends, even in college. She has more knowledge of Shakespeare than anyone in the class.

Last Monday a former student now in high school finally joined our after-school basketball game after a year of trying to match schedules. He dominated.

On Wednesday I received Teacher Appreciation letters from several former students who are now attending middle school. They were humorous and humbling.

On Thursday afternoon I played golf with the father and mother of a former student.

On Friday I toured the middle school with my current fifth grader students and ran into several of my former students. Later in the day one of them showed up at my classroom door to tell me that she loved me but didn’t want to say it in front of her friends.

When I became a teacher, I never expected that the relationships I forge with students and their parents would continue on long after they had left my classroom.

But they do. Sometimes for years and years later.

More often than not, in fact.

Some of my best friends are the parents of former students.

Clara’s godmother is the parent of former students.

And I see and hear from my former students all the time.

It’s not as tangible nor profitable as a company car or stock options, but by way of fringe benefits, there is truly nothing better.