Monday, April 6, 2009

Thanks for the Memories!

Do you have a memory box? A real or figurative place where you keep memories to pull out as needed? I have several boxes of notes from good friends, family members and former students that I can pull out every once in a while. They remind me of good days, and of moments when I’ve done something well. They remind me that I have indeed tried new things and risen to challenges, aspects of my life I forget when faced with something new.

Well, today I got something wonderful for my figurative memory box. A former student wrote about me on her new blog. She’s one of the special girls I had in English and yearbook class—my partners in staying up late, pigging out, telling embarrassing stories about myself and meeting deadlines.

Sometimes it felt like the only things separating me from the students were my huge shoulder pads and my teacher-like walk. My first yearbook editor was 18 to my 23 years old and she pulled me through my first year on the job.

I got a bit of a rep as a young teacher for favoring the girls, and between my love of teaching Jane Austen and my realization that becoming super-close to teenage boys was NOT a good idea, I guess they were right. After all, we had a few incidents of Mary Kay Letourneau-like behavior at our school, and I certainly wasn’t up for that sort of thing.

More importantly, however, I loved teaching these young women and watching them mature because I saw them as much better versions of myself. Did I work on the yearbook when I was in high school? No way. Too much work. I was afraid it would cut into my social life.

So you can imagine how impressed I was by these young girls, these leaders, who took on so much responsibility. I loved seeing them go from giggling 9th or 10th graders, to seniors with one foot out the door into the world. By the end of senior year, they weren’t sharing as much info with me as they had been, and it reminded me of the growth, separation, and some secrecy that marked the spring of my senior year.

Now they are all grown up, in their late 20’s to mid-30’s and I have the honor of keeping up with them as peers through blogging and Facebook. I’ve gone from Ms. See to Anna.

I attended a funeral today, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I’ve made any difference in anyone’s life, as the wonderful woman who died most certainly did. To receive today’s timely addition to my memory box was a wonderful gift. Thanks, ELowman!

What do you do to remind yourself of your braver, stronger self? Is it a letter, a photo, or maybe a comment on your blog?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Anna, you were an incredible teacher even before you had the diploma and the paycheck. You are still teaching me through your blog.
I read her blog... and I have no doubt that you have many students that remember you fondy.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I'm sorry about the funeral. I think you would have been my favorite teacher! Except I wouldn't have worked on year book either. I was too busy sitting around at my friend Suzi's house doing nothing.

Susan said...

My kids frequently pulled out my scrap book from the old days and I enjoy talking to them about the events of yesteryear. I also have a lot of letters and things from college, like a folder of writing my teacher suggested i should consider trying to get published. Yes, it is fun to look back and then to see your own children building their own memories of their young, strong selves.

Shawn said...

I am trying to write more about my own memories----starting today on my blog---for my posterity.

It is a sad realization when you have nothing from a loved one to read about their lives in their own words, after they have passed on...

Heidi said...

How lovely to have someone recognize you in that way - to honor you like that.
I wrote a post last week I think? about a teacher that had a significant impact on my life. I just teaching is one of the most noble professions there is. How great that you can keep in touch with some of them.

Heidi said...

oops. that should have been, I just think teaching is one get the idea.