Being "Friends" with Former Students

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ku_alum, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I have almost all of the juniors and seniors in our school in my classes. So, I have my students 2 years in a row. By the time they graduate, I have strong student/teacher connections with many of them. We do a dinner out before their graduation day, I cry when they graduate ... one of those sappy type of things.

    It's not uncommon for former students to come visit me at school, or sit next to me for a bit at school ball games, etc. I exchange email with a handful of them from time to time. A few of them were at my wedding reception (we had a private wedding, just a reception for family and friends).

    Anyway, one of my former students (she easily falls into the categories described above) recently informed me that she is really struggling with the college transition, she is dealing with some crappy stuff in her life, etc. While I know she has support of her family and her friends, I felt like she was reaching out to me. So, we made plans to have dinner one evening.

    My husband thinks this is strange. Is it?

    I saw the student's mom (after I had this conversation) and I told her that I had spoken with her daughter and we were going to try to get together soon. Her mom seemed pleased with the idea.

    Is a dinner out with a former student weird?
     
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  3. Sheba

    Sheba Companion

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    No, not at all. In fact, it might teach you a lot about what impact you've had on your students lives.
     
  4. catsos2

    catsos2 Companion

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    Doesn't sound weird to me. Sounds like she thinks of you as a trusted mentor. Nice because it's sometimes hard to find an adult to connect with when you're a student. She's probably looking for mature advice or a mature person to confide in that is not her parent.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I've kept in touch with quite a few of my students over the years. I started out teaching 12th graders. They were only 4-5 years younger at the time, so it didn't seem all that odd to keep in touch.

    Now that I've been teaching middle school for a long time, I'm starting to get some of those students come back to the school to sub or teach.
     
  6. SoReady2Teach

    SoReady2Teach Comrade

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    I don't think its weird at all. I keep on contact with a few of my high school teachers. One of them lives close to me and I've been to her house for a Christmas parties and a few barbeque's. I think its great to keep in contact with teachers who've really had a positive impact on your life. However, I still find myself calling them by their teacher names, a first name basis is still weird for me. I don't wanna sound like I'm being disrespectful.
     
  7. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I keep in touch with a teacher I had in high school. I also now teach with several of my high school teachers. I was at a party with a bunch of them last fall...that was interesting. However, I am very good friends now with one of them and she has been an incredible mentor and influence on my life. For a long time I didn't refer to her by name at all. Now we are on first name basis and it's cool. She asked me to go with her to a play in a few weeks. I am psyched! I'd be careful how soon you become friends with them and that you're a positive role model for them.
     
  8. futureteacher77

    futureteacher77 Rookie

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    Sorry to butt, into your conversation, I am still only on my first step to becoming a teacher, thats' why I came here to this forum, but I can tell you from a student's point of view: I come from a culture where students and teachers go on three day hikes and far away field trips and have tea together and its normal. I went to high school in New York, and befriended a substitute teacher if it were not for her I would not have achieved what I have academically or as a person. And there are many stories like that i know so I don't think its weird, its very good. My friend the substitute teacher passed away two years ago, so I can not thank her anymore, so let me thank you for your past and future student friends, teachers like you made me want to become one.
     
  9. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Is fly fishing and hunting with former students weird? I do it and enjoy it. It gives me a chance to connect with the community. Our phone number is also listed.

    Some teachers prefer to teach only during contracted hours and within their assigned content areas, others are more open.
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    I definitely keep in touch with my former "darlings" - I teach all seniors and love it when they drop by to visit and tell me all about college.
     
  11. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I see former students all the time. I think it's best not to go anywhere with them alone until they're over 21, though. And NEVER while they're still in school. (college is okay)
     
  12. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I just went to a former student's wedding last summer. She is 22 now (I had her in middle school not kindergarten).
     
  13. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

    I thought I was in the okay, but my husband's response made me question it.

    Mamacita - why the age 21 minimum?
     
  14. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Not weird at all.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    My 2 cents not weird. When I was in High School I brought my 3rd grade teacher something for her bday (usually some flowers) & till this day I call her. I've been to her house & talked about teaching/my kids & just life!!!

    When I graduated from HS I had one of my teachers who was also my coach sign my year book & he put know that you're grown up you can call me by my first name. Still don't it's always Coach!!! I have emailed him few times. His a principal at a different school now!!!
     
  16. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I guess once they've graduated, it's alright for a female teacher to give advice to a former female student. As long as the get together occurs rarely & they look up to you as their mentor & NOTHING MORE. I'm just saying that because some young people may get strange ideas in their heads. They may have had a crush on their teacher & now that they're finally graduated, they may be thinking of a way to get closer to their former teacher.

    The thing is, if the OP was a male & said he was going out to dinner w/ a female student he had last yr, it wouldn't look as innocent as if it were a female student going out w/ a female teacher.

    Be honest ladies, if your husband was a teacher & about once a month or so, he'd go out to dinner & other outings w/ his previous female students just to catch up & give her "advice", would YOU like it? I sure wouldn't & if someone says that I should just trust him & I'm being insecure, well that actually has nothing to do w/ it.
     
  17. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    I think it's wiser to wait until they're over 21 because then they're legally adults and there would not be the "hanging out with a kid" stigma. In groups, it wouldn't matter, but one on one I think it might.
     
  18. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    It is definitely not weird and I am glad you are doing it. I am in the same boat as you; I am 23 and have very good connections with my students. Heck, I rode with a student and his parents to a Saturday 3-mile race that was 100 miles away!

    I wish I could stay this age forever because I feel like I have such an advantage in relating to the kids. I've learned a valuable lesson from my old high school teacher that learned the hard way, though: never get too comfortable and compromise, because you'll lose their respect fast.

    k_u alum, you sound just like me...teaching in a small town and having the time of your life with the students- it's awesome!!
     
  19. futureiowateach

    futureiowateach Rookie

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    I grew up in a very small town, everyone knew eachother, everyone went to the same get togethers and the classes were so small and teahers so few that you had them multiple times. One teacher I had every term for 4 years and then also had her as a sponsor and coach in mulitple activities. Her and I became very close, she was so easy to talk to and always had great advice. When I was trying to decide on colleges and what to do with my life she was one that was always open to listening and not judging. Since high school I've been at college for 3 years and switched from teaching to nursing, recieved my RN and now am back in school working to get my teaching degree and we still talk about life and things that happen usually weekly via email. And when I am home she is one that I always stop in and say hi too... But its not just her, where I went to high school the teachers were more than teachers. In such a small town we saw them everywhere-- church, games, shopping, community events. None of them were "8-3" teachers. I really enjoyed that. It is teachers like that that make me want to become a teacher....
    It's not unusual, if you spent years with them it's hard to just cut it off and not talk anymore. I know multiple students other than myself who still call her up and talk, especially when we really need something (like a paper proofed!)
    Ohh and by the way... I'm a male, and shes a female and noone has raised any questions when we have gone to conferences together or to eat. Keep it up, you have no idea how much you may or will affect her in the years to come.
     
  20. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

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    Great story!! I love hearing stories from other small-town teachers. You are so right about how a teacher can affect people for years to come. Yesterday in church an older man said to me, "Just remember. The two most important professions in life are a mother and a teacher." It's very encouraging to hear that the teachers in your life were living that phrase and not the 8-3 type.
     
  21. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    DougHSTeach ... Don't worry about aging and losing the connection with your students (the kids keep you young!) I've got 10 years on you. Teaching in a small school does have a great sense of community, doesn't it?
     
  22. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Quite a few of my former students are now fellow faculty members!
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I cannot count the number of honorary brothers and sisters I have because my parents are so precious to so many of their former students. My father had the media center of our alma mater (we both attended where he taught) named in his honor when he retired. Students from 1978 to 2007, most of whom I'd known as visitors to our home, showed up for the dedication ceremony.

    Heck, I just emailed my second grade teacher to say hello and owe another email to my high school English teacher.
     
  24. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Now that she is an adult and not in your classes, I see nothing unusual about a dinner out, esp. when she seems to be reaching out. Just be cautious on her behalf - she obviously looks up to you and in that kind of situation, we still need to be a bit protective of the younger people and keep very clear boundaries. Which I am sure you would do!
     
  25. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    It's not strange. I keep in touch via computer with a few of them who are in eighth grade and send Christmas cards to those from the past five years. I even plan on calling a few parents of former kids (and maybe all my current kids) and surprising them at their front door with a card right before Christmas.
     
  26. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    I think it's totally fine! I actually just got an e-mail from a former student asking me to support her girl scout troop. I love doing things like that! I also like to go back to MI and visit them at lunch at their middle school. This will be the last year I can do that, as they'll be in HIGH SCHOOL next year!!!!
     
  27. kidcrazy

    kidcrazy New Member

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    being friends

    Those teachers that were friends with me, I remember the most. I once had a teacher who came to a baseball game of mine to be a fan. It meant the world to me. Those kind of things leave a long lasting impression. Those who take the time, stay in the mind.
     
  28. kidcrazy

    kidcrazy New Member

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    Conferences

    Anybody have any parent-teacher conference input. Likes/dislikes....Maybe even strategies that you think are helpful?
     
  29. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    I wish my son would hear from the few teachers he really connected with while in school.
     
  30. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Mama, they're legally adults at 18, unless you plan to go drinking with them.


    For the OP, I think your husband's being a bit weird. Being an older adult, whether it's mentoring or just a person to look up to, is a pretty natural outgrowth of being a teacher. It's possible, though, that he's actually worried about the unlimited numbers of former students taking over your life. You might consider reassuring him somehow that it won't.
     
  31. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    :hijack:

    Ohhh, I'm having pt conferences for my two older sons tomorrow. I have lots and lots of stuff I need to go over; I don't think there's any way I can do it all in 20 minutes.

    Overall, start with something good, then bring up any issues, then plans for working on the issues (including any recommendations for them), and then end with a note of optimism. If parents bring up any curve balls, tell them you'll investigate and get back to them (then, mmmm. . . it's best to do it).

    I would be spectacularly impressed with any teacher who requested the curve balls prior to the actual conference so that she could prepare. It wouldn't even matter if she had the answers prior to the conference if she could just repeat the items back to me, a la, "I'm still looking into whether your son can join X group", or whatever.
     
  32. sk8enscars311

    sk8enscars311 Companion

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    I'm good friends with one of my high school teachers. I still drop in on her from time to time and call to catch up. I visited her right after high school as well and would often be invited to go places with her and some other teachers. (all much older) I loved it.
     
  33. coffeeteacher

    coffeeteacher Rookie

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    One of my best friends now is my former teacher, and we began that friendship as soon as I graduated. She even came to my graduation party.
    Now that I have been teaching for four years, I have former students contact me frequently. They ask for advice about college, life, or sometimes they just want to tell me a funny story.
    I became a teacher to be like the one who made a difference in my life, even if it means extending the relationship beyond the classroom after they graduate.
     

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