When they come back to visit

Yesterday was the last day of workshop week. I didn’t get as much done as I thought. I am in charge of the lockers for the school and I spent some time fixing a few combinations that hadn’t moved ahead. But the most interesting part of the day came when a former student stopped by.

Occasionally students come back to get transcripts because of applying for college later than right after high school. This student had served 5 years in the Marines and was now going taking classes at a community college. He was applying for the major university in town and needed a high school transcript. So while he was at school, he wandered around to see if he could find any of his former teachers.

I was one of the teachers he found. When he came into my room he said my name and then started to introduce himself. He wasn’t assuming that I’d remember him, which was nice. (I actually said his name before he got it out – so this one I did remember and recognize.) When you’ve had hundreds of students, it’s hard to remember each and every one of them.

So we talked about what he had done since high school. He had been stationed in Kuwait, but did not have to go into Iraq. We talked about what he was doing now that he was out of the Marines. And then at the end of the conversation, something completely caught me off guard.

Student: I hope you don’t think this is too forward. But do you think I could have your number and we could get together for coffee sometime?

Me: Uhhh… Do you have email? You can just reach me that way here. …  It was nice seeing you.

How do you respond to that? Is he thinking this is just coffee or a coffee date? To me, it sounded more like he was fishing for a coffee date. Umm… yeah, you’re definitely more confident than you were in high school, and your acne has cleared up nicely. But you’re FOURTEEN years younger than me. I’m flattered and freaked out at the same time. I could be completely wrong. But in my experience, I’m pretty good at reading people.

As a teacher, you never know who or what will walk through your door. But you do know that it’s never predictable.

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One Response to “When they come back to visit”

  1. dkzody Says:

    You handled it well, especially pointing out that you could be reached AT school. A group of us teachers do see a young man outside of class (no romantic notions on either side) when we are in his neck of the woods because he has gone off and become so successful. He gets a kick out of his seeing his old teachers and hearing stories. But, otherwise, we don’t see our ex students outside of a school context.


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