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Former students

Jim Krueger, former fifth grade student, recently produced a six part podcast series called The Road that Killed a City, about interstate 84 and Hartford, Connecticut.

I listened last week, and it’s fantastic. I learned so much.

Jim’s sister, Emma, also a former student, lives in Hanoi, Vietnam, and recently attended my virtual book talk at my local library. She works in marketing – the same field that I oddly spend much of my time these days.

My former student, Kayla, is now my colleague, working as a teaching assistant at my school. Two weeks ago, she took over my class when I needed to attend a meeting. Quite surreal.

Last Saturday night she told a story for Speak Up.

Her brother, Nathan, also a former student, has also told a story for Speak Up. I’ve also told a story about Nathan at The Moth and Speak Up.

Jordyn, a former student turned friend, attended a Moth StorySLAM with me in Boston in the fall. Now she is attending college. She recently told me that my stories are being used at her school in their communications classes.

Another former student is producing and hosting a podcast on finance and has recently partnered with a large media network to produce a project still under wraps.

Another is spending the day in my class next week as she works toward becoming a teacher.

Another has hired me to consult with her company.

One of my former students, who helped to take care of my children when they were young and whose wedding I officiated two years ago – is now pregnant with her first child.

My kids may be old enough to babysit her kids someday.

The list is endless.

So many things have surprised me over the course of my teaching career, but none as much as watching children who I once knew as eight, nine, and ten year old kids grow up into young adults who occasionally, continually, surprisingly intersect with my life in surprising, fascinating, delightful ways.
It saddens me beyond measure when my students exit my life at the end of every school year, but it thrills me when they reappear just a few years later, ready to share their latest adventure with me.
It’s been a truly unexpected bonus of my two dozen years in the classroom.