Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Brian and Friends

I was standing in the atrium of my church, putting on my jacket and looked across the large room. "Is that Brian?" I thought to myself.  With that, I saw him mouth, "Mr. Dunlap?" and he ran across the room to give me a big hug.

Brian was my student 10 years or so ago. (Let's just say he wasn't the easiest student to work with.)

I met his four year old son and we chatted about life. He's an insurance salesman and loving it.  We told stories and laughed. After a few minutes I realized he left behind a gaggle of friends, some of whom also spent time in my room.  Cam and Brian (yes, a different Brian) came to join in. 

It was a great ten minutes or so of telling stories of yesterday and laughing our heads off:
  • Cam accidentally walked into a porn site in the computer lab once. Not that I want this to happen to a student, but the whole scenario is a funny story to tell now that it's over.  Immediately, Cam interrupted me. "I'm glad you remember this story too. I've told it a thousand times!" I've never heard it from his perspective. "I was sure I was going to jail!" Hilarious!
  • We laughed about how Brian (#1) could always get out of trouble with a wide smile and a goofy excuse. ("Sorry. I'm just really excited to go to Eli's house after school today.") I admitted to him that I would send him to the office with a note that said, "Brian needs to take a walk."
  • Brian (#2) told us how teachers would skip sending him to the elementary principal's office.  Instead we would send him straight to his dad who was our high school principal (and a very intimidating man, I might add).
I've been fortunate that my entire teaching career has been in relatively small schools.  I've been able to watch kids grow up to be adults. I've taught their siblings. I get to know their parents and call them friends. We've been to weddings and held babies and now call many of those "kids" our friends.

It's definitely rewarding to see a former student "make it" in the career of his or her choosing, but it's also equally rewarding to get a hug and share some laughs as equals with those "kids" too.

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