All jobs have perks. Some perks are minimal, and some perks are financially staggering. Most perks only last the length of a job. Teaching however, offers a lifetime of perks!
I have never a met a teacher who hasn’t wondered how they have been remembered and have affected their former students. We work hard to design valuable lessons and fun activities hoping students will take solid knowledge and experiences with them as they progress to the next level.
Even today, years after retirement, I run into students who so kindly share their memories and fondness for my class. It’s a real perk. However, one of the most memorable perks I ever received is the one I share with you.
On the first day of a school year, about 30 years into my career, a student named Ashley approached me and informed me that I had her father Caleb in 6th grade at an elementary school in town. I was teaching at the Middle School at the time.
I had remembered Caleb vividly because he was in one of my first classes. After a brief chat about her Dad, Mom and grandparents nothing much was said. I figured I would see Mom and Dad at a Parent Conference or an Open House.
About a month later, Ashley brings in a note I had written to her grandparents about her father Caleb’s behavior. It was a note that informed Caleb’s parents that I would be keeping him after school for unacceptable behavior. This was going to take place on a Friday, late in June, in 1976!
What stunned me at first was that he still had the note. The next thing that jumped out at me was the date. Imagine, keeping a student after school, late in June and on a Friday yet!
I started to think that maybe Caleb was still very upset with me after all these years! It sort of frightened me to think he still had this note.
The year progressed uneventfully. No more notes or reminisces about Caleb. Ashley was a good student and her Mom would show up for conferences and school functions.
However, her father never came to school.
Two days before the end of that school year, a burly, bearded man, about 40 something, shows up at my classroom door. He was holding a school- shaped planter filled with beautiful flowers and a card. I recognized him immediately. It was Caleb!
When he approached me, he instantly turned 12 years old and I became Miss Romano. It was as if time had never passed and we were in the same roles we were 30 years ago.
Caleb proceeded to tell me that Sixth Grade was his favorite year! He remembered many things we did in my class and he shared how much that year meant to him. After a pleasant visit, he handed me the planter and card. Upon his departure, I read the card which was filled with huge amounts of appreciation and gratitude. I was so deeply touched and awed on how I affected his life that year. It left me lost for words, which is very rare for me.
This was a lifetime perk that will be carried with me throughout my life.
Lucinda R. Kramer
Student Teacher Supervisor