The number of students and colleagues from MI who have told me they miss me in the last week or so has been nothing short of overwhelming. On the one hand, it is rather hard being reminded of our separation, even though I left of my own accord. For all my desire to come home, most of the time what I really wanted was to be in two places at once. Tiny humans are tiny humans, and I will always derive some fulfillment from working with them no matter how dire the other circumstances of my life are. On the other hand, it is nice to be remembered fondly, especially because one of my very worst fears is of being forgotten/ignored. I deliberately chose last year to focus on relationship-building, and in that I should like to think that I was fairly successful.
The union and professional stance on social networking for teachers is to stay off it, but realistically it offers the best way to stay in touch with former students. I simply can’t bear the thought of cutting off all contact completely, especially since I have changed schools so often in the last two years. My policy is that I will only friend students who have graduated or are not in the district in which I am working. I have a specific privacy setting for them so that they can see I exist and little else, though they are always able to send me messages. I never friend students pre-emptively and I make my profile minimally searchable, so they usually find me through other staff members, which I am okay with. When I am no longer professionally obliged to a student, I feel that it is okay to communicate my continued concern for their well-being in the medium that is most comfortable for them.
And then every once in a while, you have a much more immediate blast from the past. I was working the crowd at orientation pre-registration yesterday when I turned around to see a student pointing at me and saying something to his mother. I literally did a double-take because he was a student from my student-teaching days and I truly never expected to see any of those kids again (though I am FB friends with a few). We caught up a bit and I confess I thanked my lucky stars that I wouldn’t have him again…hopefully he’s matured significantly since I last had him in class, but…some kids you just need to have only once in a lifetime. It’ll be interesting teaching all freshmen and [fingers crossed for life stability] eventually seeing them graduate.
JJ commented almost a year ago about the transitory nature of our vocation, which reflects and perhaps magnifies the restlessness inherent to being 24 and single in this day and age. I still feel oddly adrift at times and need to keep working on anchoring myself in the place God wants me to be, and a huge piece of that is submission. I’ve been chewing on Jonah a lot recently and pray continually for the will and strength to obey.
Jonah 2:9 – But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”