There is an unwritten rule about teaching. They Will Always Be Your Student
Once you have a child enter your classroom, and they are in your role, and entrusted to your care, they are forever referred to by everyone as “our students.” Age has no hold because a student of yours will forever be Your Student.
They are OURS. They belong to us! I know they are really on loan from their parents for about 8 hours a day, for 180 days. But that totally counts.
When I take my class to music or PE or any other room, I remind them to “make me proud.” When I pick them up, and sometimes get a not-so-pleasant report. I take it personally. I have to watch my tongue to not defend MY STUDENT.
When I see another teacher correct one of MY STUDENTS sometimes I want to defend my student. I feel a sense of protection over them. I instead remind my student of the high expectations I hold for them.
When my students reach their goals, I have an unreasonable sense of PRIDE over their accomplishments.
I love when a student of mine is in a higher grade and still visits me to share what is going on in their life.
And if a parent can’t come to a certain event at school, a student’s current teacher has only to share the need with us and that student’s former teachers gladly step up to make it happen. I have had mommy manicures, and donuts with Dad, and sat through countless award presentations as a parent fill-in for that day. And when students graduate from their grade, their school, or their program… we cry WITH them.
They are our students. We will miss them. We will miss talking to them, laughing with them, and sharing funny stories with them.
Then we see them in the world. Sometimes we see them working at one of their jobs, working to make money. Our minds instantly revert that student BACK to their 5-year-old self, who struggles to complete an activity with a partner. Yet NOW they have mastered that skill.
Sometimes we see them eating out. Our minds instantly revert back to the lunch room, struggling to open that milk carton or spilling syrup all over themselves. We laugh and hope they are a less messy eater now… and that they remember to take the cupcake wrapper OFF the cupcake before eating it.
Your students will forever and always be your students. Size, age, and maturity do not matter. Once you are my kindergartner… forever my kindergartner shall you be. They Will Always Be Your Student.