Awkward past student visits

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, May 26, 2015.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 26, 2015

    So, I've only been teaching at this school for 3 years now, but I've been getting visiting students after year one (since the HS is right across the street). The problem is that when they visit, the visits are always VERY awkward. I'm thinking it might be because they're still young, and haven't really developed a sense of how to carry on a conversation.

    It will be a lot of me asking how they're doing, and any new things going on with them. All questions will be answered with abrupt yeses or nos, followed by an awkward pause where I wait for them to elaborate which never happens.

    I also always feel guilty for forgetting names, even though I know I shouldn't be, since I see almost 200 kids pass through a year. I will oddly remember names from very long ago, but not kid's names from like last year. I remember faces though.

    I like seeing how kids are doing, but I almost dread visits, because they end up being very awkward. Are visits from past students this way for you guys? Should I expect better conversations as they get into Junior and Senior year of High School (or graduate)?
     
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  3. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    May 26, 2015

    I've handled it by being very upbeat, excited to see them, ask a few questions, give some very encouraging words...

    ...and then quickly excuse myself from the conversation because I'm so happy that they visited, and they will be so successful in high school, but I'm a very busy person.

    It can get awkward, so I just try to keep it short and sweet. I'm happy to see them, you know, but I don't need to chat it up for a long time.
     
  4. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    May 26, 2015

    I would have a lot of questions in my mind about their new school, their favorite subject, how they're doing, how is high school different, how is it different from what they though, about their friends, family, etc. But I would also keep it short, maybe 5-10 minutes and excuse myself, unless it's a great conversation.
    They don't really know how to carry on a conversation, so you have to model it for them and appreciate the fact that they actually come by :)
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 26, 2015

    Aw, I fondly remember my awkward teacher visits...I was in college and visited my HS English teacher to tell him I was considering teaching as a career. I clearly remember him saying, "It's a real great job, if you can hack it." Here I am 15 years later, still "hacking it" thanks to Mr. O'Connor, Bob Dylan, Dylan Thomas, and William Blake!
     
  6. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2015

    When former students drop by; I ask them how they're doing, what they've been up to, what plans they have for the future, etc. I try to be as upbeat as possible and always end with, "it's glad to see you doing so well." I'm good at faking reasons to end conversations at work, so I just tell them I have to run to the restroom/copy room/talk to another teacher/make a call when I feel the conversation is over and the student has not left yet.

    I also find these meeting very awkward because I am not big on "missing" kids (I like having a new class or group of students every year); but I try to be as positive and enthusiastic as possible when dealing with former students.
     
  7. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    May 27, 2015

    As this is my first year of teaching I don't have any former students to come visit me yet. My best friend and I were those kids who went back to visit our former teachers all the freaking time, though. In high school we visited our elementary and middle school teacher and on breaks during college we went to see high school teachers. Clearly we had some nostalgia issues ;)

    Since we only went to visit our most favorite teachers they always seemed very happy to see us. I also like to imagine we could carry on a decent conversation. We would talk about our classes, plans for college and after, reminisce about memorable moments, etc. We usually kept our visits short, though- as future teachers we were already aware that a teacher's free time is limited!

    Now I just work with all my former teachers so they essentially can't get rid of me, haha :D
     
  8. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2015

    I have to imagine that having a former student come work at your school must be one of the most bizarre-yet-awesome things ever...

    There are several grads from the school teaching where I work, alongside their former teachers. I feel like it says a lot about a school that former students want to come back to teach there!
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    May 27, 2015

    OMG! After 23 years, I still find these visits horribly awkward! LOL! I envy other teachers who can make small talk so easily... I can't do that well with anyone, not just former students. I usually spend about 5 minutes or so asking questions and checking up on them, and then I make an excuse about needing to go to meeting or having to make a parent phone call.
     
  10. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    May 27, 2015

    Off the top of my head, I think there are five or six former grads (including myself) working in my school right now. It's mostly pretty cool, but occasionally a little weird as well!
     
  11. leeshis0019

    leeshis0019 Companion

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    May 27, 2015

    I didn't read all of the replies, but when I got to this one at the very end I seriously thought you were going to add "and Jack Daniel!"...

    O' sigh....


    I've had students from 1 year back visit. They're already in high school and have a good sense of conversation. I tend to keep interactions brief, but I could very well be teaching them again in a year (forensics or the like) so I'm obviously amicable.

    I think if you think it's an issue then have questions ready. Linguist has some excellent questions.


    As for working at a former school I could not do it. I would deliberately turn down any offers. I just feel like it would be too strange both to see my old teachers and to walk those halls again. Not to mention boring. I mean I've seen the building already for 4 years...nothing new. :eek:
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    May 27, 2015

    No Jack Daniels for me, but PinO'Noir and Chard'Onnay have been helpful at times :lol:
     
  13. adeeb

    adeeb Rookie

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    May 28, 2015

    The advice given by everyone else so far is great. Try asking questions that require the students to give more of an answer than "yes" or "no." That will force them to elaborate. And be sure to ask "why" questions. For example, if they say they don't like high school as much as middle school, ask why they feel that way. You can usually dig deeper to force them to talk and ultimately have a less awkward conversation!

    These awkward interactions aren't limited to visiting students. I've experienced them when seeing old classmates and acquaintances.
     
  14. Aussiegirl

    Aussiegirl Habitué

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    May 29, 2015

    Try teaching - as a new teacher - in the same school from which your kids just graduated, alongside the teachers you were struggling with just the year before as a parent!:woot:
     
  15. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    May 31, 2015

    I've had a few student visits this year. I'm also upbeat and happy to see them. I've also managed to get some of them to talk to my students about college, work, etc.
     

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