As Mr. Lawrence recently noted, it's difficult not to run into former students in The Real World. I seem to be seeing lots of kiddos who graduated several years ago. I haven't gone many places without being recognized. The hard part is that while I likely haven't changed a whole lot in the last 10 years, they have changed a lot. The little scrawny 15-year old boy is now a 23-year old man. The jawline is different as is the build. I am often grateful for their name tags.
I like to hear their stories and find out the directions their lives have taken. It's one thing to have been involved with them at the beginning of their young adult lives when they felt that the future had amazing promise. And it's quite another to chat with the pizza delivery guy and find out why things haven't quite panned out as intended.
I will miss this aspect of being in the classroom: having a more direct connection with kids...watching them grow up and become peers in the community. On the other hand, maybe working throughout the district will allow me to build relationships with a larger part of our youth. I'm glad they're everywhere.