For example, I wonder what happened to Serena, a freshman I had in writing class who was phenomenally talented. I hope someone else saw her talent and encouraged her to develop it. Serena wasn't always the best about completing assignments, but the sheer ability was sometimes awe-inspiring in the assignments she did turn in. I hope to someday see her win the Mann Booker prize.
Sometimes I think about Nathan, a sophomore who was incredibly frustrating to me. Nathan couldn't or wouldn't do anything in or out of class, and his grade hovered around the 30% mark all the time. But his father died in a freak accident the year before I started teaching him, and while he never seemed unhappy, I wondered if he'd lost the ability to care. He wouldn't meet with the counselors, come in for tutorials or even take me up on offers for extra credit. Maybe I could have done more for him.
Connor was another student that I miss now. He was so stubborn, refusing to try and do things differently and constantly at war with his mother, who quickly recruited me to give extra assistance to her son. Our tutoring sessions always ended with me telling Connor to repeat the phrase, "Your mother is always right." She definitely was. Once he started listening to me, and by extension, her, his grades shot up. He's at a magnet school that has a special music program, and I wish I knew how he was getting along.
I keep in touch with several previous students on social media. When they were my students, I wouldn't accept friend requests or follow them, but I'm always surprised by the flood of requests once these same students graduate. I'm watching some make their way through college and move into their first real jobs after graduation. It makes me feel like a parent, watching my babies grow up.
I imagine that teachers probably feel the way parents do, in that we're always proud and slightly worried about our kids. How are they doing? Do they need anything? Do they remember what I taught them? Are they happy?
Though, I don't care if they're happy, as long as they use correct grammar in their social media posts or thank you notes to me. Good grammar makes me happy.