In which I am renewed

I’ve had two run-ins with former students recently, both while attempting to buy food from fast-food joints.  On the first I was in between errands and needed to grab something before my DC parent meeting; the second was simply an issue of my wife and I not feeling like making real dinner.  In both cases, the kids recognized me right before I figured out who they were, and in both cases I remembered the kids, although the first one looked different enough that I had to have her remind me of her last name.

The second kid… man, it was surprisingly nice to see him.  In his case I was actually in the restaurant as opposed to going through a drive-thru so we had a chance to talk for a minute.  He’s a senior, graduating in a couple of months (which, God, does that make me feel old) and going directly into the Army after graduation.  Which… whoa.

A moment after he asked me if I was Mr. Siler, and I blinked at him a couple of times and called him by name, one of the other customers in line looked at me and said “Is he worth remembering?”  Yeah, he certainly is; he was one of the good ones.  He’s apparently working two different jobs right now in addition to school.  His younger brother, who I remember being considerably more troubled than he was (and who he cracked “wasn’t nearly as worth remembering” when I asked about him) is also doing well in school and working more than one job, a fact that warms the heart fairly considerably.

I shook the kid’s hand and told him I was proud of him.  And I am.  It was nice to see him.

Fun story about this kid:  there was a brief period of time where I was both a computer teacher for fifth and sixth graders and teaching a single, multi-grade writing class, and he was in that class.  I was able to basically hand-pick those kids and both he and his brother were in the room.  There was a day when I’d had a sub because I had to go to a meeting, and so I had a couple of minutes to talk to the sub about what to expect with my students in the room.  “This class isn’t going to give you any trouble at all,” I said, looking around at my chosen group of perfect angels…

…and this kid has his pants off in the back of the room.  Well okay, mild exaggeration; they were down to his knees.  And, in his defense, he had basketball shorts on underneath them.  Which had apparently bound up on him, requiring a brief uniform adjustment.  Which he had just gone right ahead and done right in front of Jesus and errybody in the back of the room.

At which point I had to, for the first time in my teaching career (but, sadly, not the last,) use the phrase could you maybe put your pants back on please in class.  In front of a sub, who I had just told to expect a perfectly easy first hour class.

Yeah, that one was worth remembering.  🙂

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Luther M. Siler

The author of SKYLIGHTS, THE BENEVOLENCE ARCHIVES and several other books.

4 thoughts on “In which I am renewed

  1. That was worth reading! Reminded me of a class of ten year old children and I did have one, we will call him a hyper child, who when I told them that we should run over the lesson took me quite literally by throwing his book on the floor and running back and forth across it… me, being dense, asked “Ricky what are you doing?” I don’t have to tell you his answer. On another day I looked at him and said “Ricky I want you to say five words out loud right now and then be quiet for the rest of the class… he thought a moment and came out with (while counting on his fingers) “I tooka bath last night!” That boy died of a drug over-dose at Emory Hospital…I sometimes wonder if I did everything I could have done for him…

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  2. During my brief time as a high school teacher, I had one student who actually did take his pants off in class on more than one occasion. And flop on the floor like a fish to demonstrate the reason for his nickname. Strangely, I remember him as being one of my better students.

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  3. I’m only in my second year of teaching. Can’t wait to run into some of my past students in the future. Funny thing is, the past students I’m imagining are in my future! Too hard to think about right now after a night on the wines and only one coffee this morning!

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