This year has been my year to bump into former students. I live on an island so we’re kind of trapped but weeks, even months can go by where I don’t bump into former students. This year I’ve bumped into quite a few of them in shops, schools and in the street. It’s been a strange experience. Strange because it brings mixed emotions. It’s lovely to see my former students again and even better when they recognize and remember you but it's making me feel old.
I felt awash with a warm buzzing feeling of happiness knowing that they remembered me (well most of them) and that some of them were still studying English and doing well. It was amazing to see them all grown up or on their way.
I started to think about the influence we have on our students. I may have only taught them for two hours a week but how did they remember me? Did they remember me fondly? Did they feel good when they thought back to English lessons with me? And why didn’t they remember me?
This isn’t an exercise in ego. It made me think back to my schools days, my university days, my CELTA days and my Dip days. I started to think of my old teachers. The ones I remember fondly are the ones that were kind to me and made me feel good. I’ve had many great teachers, teachers who undoubtedly knew their stuff but, the ones that I remember most are the ones that made me feel good. I want to be one of those, I hope I am but I’m going to make sure that when I’m tired, stressed and feeling generally like crap that I remember this:
Fantastically planned lessons, wonderfully appropriate content, amazing technology tools, great course books and great results all seem to fade in comparison to how you make your students feel.
"They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel." - Not sure who said this but David Warr says Maya Angelou!