My daughter and I pulled this book off her shelf last night, written by a former student named Maddie and given to Clara when she was born seven years ago. It's been hiding in the back between other books.
My wife taught Maddie as well. One of those rare students who was blessed with having both of us as teachers.
I just adore Maddie's inscription to Clara, and she does as well.
It is quintessential Maddie.
No one tells you when you become a teacher that former students will remain in your life long after the school year has ended, and they will continue to touch your heart in so many ways years later. It's not quite as valuable as medical insurance or a pension, but in terms of benefits, it's close.
Just over the course of the past two weeks, I've been contacted by two former students.
One of these former students decided to look me up ("It's 3:30 in the morning right now, and I randomly googled you.") and discovered that since he left my classroom, I've published novels, written musicals, and launched a storytelling career.
Back when he was in my classroom, I was still a struggling writer without a credit to my name. He was surprised to see all that I had done since he had moved on.
He is currently attending Albertus Magnus in New Haven, CT. He's studying business management and is playing on their basketball team. He's considering playing professional basketball in Europe in two years. His email was inspirational and sweet, and it made my day.
Last week the other former student - now a senior at Suffield Academy - visited my classroom to inform me that he has the lead in their school play and invited me to be in the audience on opening night. He performed in my annual Shakespearean production - King Lear that year - and credited that performance as the birth of his love for acting.
Elysha and I will be in the audience in April when he takes the stage.
Incidentally, Maddie - the author of No Socks No! - attends Eastern Connecticut State University. She's a communications major with concentrations in advertising and public relations. She's also a double minor in history and digital and art design.
No surprise. She was a remarkable student in elementary school, and she remains one today.
She graduates in May. If you have any job offers, I'd be happy to pass them on to her.