Missing past students: ( How do u deal?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by MissE, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. MissE

    MissE Rookie

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    Sep 1, 2006

    So Last year I had a student who really touched me. I worked as an co-teacher and this boy has autism so I spent a lot of one on one time with him. A lot of the other teachers in the school thought he was a pain and annoying...but I absolutely loved him to death. He could always make me laugh!
    So when the students returned to school Wed. I was so excited to see him. He was on the roster for fifth grade so I was expecting him to be there. I did hear rumours that he wasn't coming back to our school because he moved. Sure enough Wednesday arrived...but my student didn't. He moved to a nice rural area about 30 minutes away from here.
    I looked forward to seeing him all summer. Now I'm so sad. I never thought about this kind of stuff when I was in school studying to be a teacher. You really do bond with your students in a way that no one else can ever imagine. It's tough at the end of the school year...but it is even tougher when you come back....your old kids are all grown up....and they aren't your students anymore...they are someone elses.
    I guess my question is...How do u deal with the fact that when your students leave in the summer or half way through the year or whatever....it is extremely possible that you will never ever see them again. I am upset over the fact that I will probably never see my favorite student again. I mean I'm not crying myself to sleep over it or anything...but it's just so disappointing. Does it get easier over the years passing your class over to the next teacher??? Or losing students to other schools? Maybe its because I am a new teacher....but this has really been an issue for me this week. I'm really gonna miss him a lot. Any advice or suggestions?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 1, 2006

    So nice to hear that this special child touched your heart. We all have a choice to let children change our lives (and to try to make a difference in theirs as well...)

    Why don't you send this kiddo a note and tell him you miss his face and that you wish him well. Hopefully he will continue to have people in his life who care so much. There are some other lucky kids in that school this year who will benefit from your kindness and compassion!!:love:
     
  4. RitaFirstGrade

    RitaFirstGrade Companion

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    Sep 1, 2006

    You sound alot like me. I get really attached to my students as well. Your students are lucky to have someone who truly cares. You were cursed with a good heart ;) , so your feelings of disappointment will probably continue. I know they will for me!
     
  5. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    Sep 1, 2006

    I know I was upset last year when I had to say good-bye to a certain student. Being my first year, I couldn't help but cry at the bus loop as I waves kids good-bye, even if they were middle schoolers. When my favorite student caught me before she got on her bus, we couldn't even say a word, because we were both bawling! I miss her sometimes, but I'm not up at night either. I do wonder how one deals with this.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've shed many tears saying good-bye to special students (and they have shed a few too). I've stayed in touch with some of them with notes and email.
     
  7. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I am the same way, and I've cried so hard before over losing students. Last year, especially, and after my first class went on to fifth grade. I cried again when they went to middle school this year. Realizing they are growing up is gratifying, yet also sort of heart-wrenching because it feels like just yesterday when you were teaching them.
     
  8. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Sep 1, 2006

    I can empathize with you. I used to work at an after school problem for kids who were homeless. Some kids we'd know before they left but most we didn't. Some kids were with us for 2 hours. Some kids were with us for 2 years. Some kids we'd see around the same time every year for the entire time I worked there-- it is hard! I always hope I'd run into a kid here or there but I haven't yet. Actually at this point considering it has been 2 years since I have been with the program and the fact that I was with it for 5 years serving about 200 different kids each year I'd be embarrased that I'd see a kid an not remember their name. Mobility is sometimes as hard on us as it is on the kids. Especially in special situations when you have had a "breakthrough" with a tough kid only to have them disapear on you. I have a student who I was worried about returning to us this year. Thankfuly she will be back (at least for now). Her mom came into the school today to fill out some paperwork and told someone in the office she has been trying to put her uniform on everyday and then gets her glasses on and waits at the door and cries whent the bus doesn't come--- (I teach Pre-K special ed)...
     
  9. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    Sep 1, 2006

    How sweet!

    I had the hardest time my first year. When I came back and saw "my" class with that "other woman," I felt . . . well, jealous is too strong. You have to rise above it and encourage the kids because it is sometimes really hard for them to go to the new class. The bright side is . . . sometimes you are SO GLAD to wave good bye and pass on a difficult group! Haha!

    Yes, we really put a lot of love into these kids. I need to hear all this because we start on Sept. 5 and my classroom just isn't coming together! I was so grouchy today I told my sister-teacher "I hate kids, and I hate adults. I hate kids and all their little books too!!" Felt good to let off some steam, and I did feel like the Wicked Witch of the West! I don't know why I have ALL THIS STUFF when I spent 2 weeks cleaning out last June!
     
  10. jcg

    jcg Cohort

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    Sep 1, 2006

    I use to cry every year, but then I thought you know I did a good job, they are moving on and that is what they are supposed to do. Just like a parent, you give them all you can and although it is hard, you give them wings and pray and hope they soar into their own life.
     
  11. teachkids

    teachkids Rookie

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    Jan 13, 2007

    I also had a special student who moved to the the next school. I kept in touch with his teachers to see how he was doing. His parents kept in touch with me and we all celebrated his graduation a few years later. I still run into him at community gatherings.
     
  12. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Jan 14, 2007

    The students I had in middle school are now in high school and above, and I love it when they come by the house to visit. I have about a dozen who visit me six or seven times a year, and the 'batch' that are now sophomores in high school come all the time.
     
  13. Thorgs

    Thorgs Rookie

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    Jan 14, 2007

    After reading this post I now fear the end of this school year. I am a para and I have been with some of these kids since 3rd grade (they are now in 6th grade). There is a slight chance I might move up with them to the junior high school but that has yet to be determined. I have a very unique job. I moved to this town and attended the elementary school in when I was in 5th and 6th grade. Then I used to work at the YMCA before and after school program at the same school so a big chunk of the kids in the school called me by my first name as well as some past teachers. Now working in the school system...you guessed it, at the same school, the kids still call me by my first name and a lot of them come to me when they have a problem. Even the regular ed kids who are in other classes! The kids would look at me, a 24 year old guy, and wonder what is wrong with me if I shed a tear. I guess I'll have to call out sick that day :p

    This actually has been on my mind a lot recently and I am wondering how I am going to deal with it since I've been with a lot of these kids for 4 years. :(
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 14, 2007

    It's part of life, and certainly part of teaching. People pass through our lives, touch us, and move on.

    My husband spent part of last week at a funeral for one of his students, hit by a car on New Years Eve. I've been to far too many student funerals along the way; teach long enough and it's inevitable. I've lost kids to car accidents, CF, plane accidents, you name it.

    So you try to love the kids you're teaching, think fondly of those you used to teach, and make every moment count. Sure, you miss them when they're gone. But it's an inherent part of the job.
     
  15. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jan 14, 2007

    I'm a 1st year teacher, so I have yet to experience missing students who have moved on to other schools. Don't get me wrong, I like kids & I'm a kind, gentle person, but when kids move on, for the most part, I probably won't miss them to the point where I'm regularly thinking about them.

    If a former student ever contacts me, it'll be nice to say hi & ask what they're doing now, but that's about it.

    That's how life goes. Everyone moves on eventually.
     
  16. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 Companion

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    Jan 14, 2007


    Yes, its because you're a new teacher.
    It will get better in a year or two.

    I've been teaching 16 years. Although I may be a tiny bit sad (well, actually I'm usually jumping for joy) on the last day, I NEVER miss them. There's always a new group to take their places.

    When you have your own kids, you'll NEVER miss your students.
    Heck, over Christmas vacation I forgot many of their last names...when we got back to school, I had to check the nametag on one boy's desk!!!
     
  17. katerina03

    katerina03 Devotee

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    Jan 14, 2007

    I know how you feel. I student taught and subbed at a small school and bonded with several students. I sent them Christmas cards and it was great that they wrote me letters back. I go visit them at the school whenever I can (which isn't often since I moved to a new state). But I try to see them when I go back home for a visit. The cards at Christmas or birthdays is a great way to keep in touch.
     
  18. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 14, 2007

    I teach in a small town so I see my former students often, and many will come and visit me (at school or home). It's harder now in 5th grade, though, becase they leave me for the Jr High. When I taught 4th I had another year with them and could see them grow and get ready to leave. Some touch my heart more than others, of course, but I miss them all. I have some that were special cases along the way, one is a girl that had a terrible home life. She was a foster child of a woman that I had known my whole life. I still don't know how that woman was approved to be a foster mother. I pushed the issue all year (tons of emotional abuse, neglect, and I felt, physical abuse going on). Social services pulled her from the home 2/3 of the way through the year. In the following year she was in 4 different homes and ended up spending time in a mental hospital. (When she was a tiny child she was abused in the most horrific manner and had a lot of emotional issues from that.) I was able to keep track of her until the hospital and then I lost her. I found out a year or so back that she has been missing for almost 3 years now. She ran away. They know when she ran she was in the company of a guy about 15 years older than her and they thought they ran to New Orleans. I still cry when I think of it.
    Another child came to see me about year and a half ago at school. I had taught him my first year and he was hell on wheels. I really struggled with him. He moved while in Jr. High and graduated from a much larger school. He came back by on his way home from boot camp. He had joined the air force. He hugged my neck and told me that he never forgot that I never gave up on him.
    It's hard, but you just give them all a little piece of your heart and stand back and watch them walk away.
     
  19. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Jan 15, 2007

    Do your best to keep in touch. I send pstcards and letters to my former students all the time, and get lots and lots of them back. I teach PreK, so the letters often come from the mom or dad, but its important to me to keep those connections alive. In my batch of holiday cards this year, I got 22 from the familes of former students. Some of those kids (who I taught at age 4) are now graduating high school. I know you can't keep in touch with each and every child, but with those that are deeply imbedded in your heart, it only takes a little time and effort.

    Now that I have kids, I find myself running into former students at kids' events all the time, and I love it. (Parks, Kids concerts, ballet recitals, lacrosse games, etc.)
    Kim
     
  20. Thorgs

    Thorgs Rookie

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    Jan 15, 2007

    You could always get a Facebook account and keep in touch with them, just kidding :p I think it's completely different if you're a guy. If I was to send cards to previous students I'd probably get looked at funny...oh well, I guess that just comes with the job.
     
  21. CanadianTeacher

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    It's funny that I find this thread today because I was thinking about this on my way home. I have a student like this with whom I connected almost immediately. This is a high needs student, both emotionally and academically and I have worked hard to provide the tools to feel better about both. Most days we have a great understanding, other days are a little more trying. Someone in a previous post said: "We put a lot of love into these kids.."--it's true and that's what makes it so hard--we are doing our jobs yet it's impossible to avoid the emotional investment that comes along with it. I am still a new teacher and I pray that I am not 'bumped' out of my job next year, because if I am, I will have to say goodbye and I guarantee I will cry. I often think about the eventual goodbye, either if I get bumped out or when they move on to high school and it fills me with anxiety. I really feel like I have adopted some of these kids--especially the one mentioned above, and I know they think about it too because a couple have asked me if I will be at that school next year. My 'favourite' has asked me to be the Grade 8 teacher next year so he could be in my class again. That's the bittersweet of teaching and I don't know how I will deal with it because I never expected to get quite so attached. The best I can do is do my best to leave a lasting positive mark and hope they never forget me, because I will never forget them. I have decided to keep a photo album for every year of my teaching, where I can keep memories of each class and each 'favourite' over the years.
     
  22. Bored of Ed

    Bored of Ed Enthusiast

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    Jan 15, 2007

    This is not about school, but it's so relevant that I have to share.
    I work in a summer camp for children who have cancer. It's a very intense experience. Of course, when the buses load at the end everyone is miserable-- we know what we're sending those beautiful little kids back to.

    Anyway, at one year's debriefing, one of the directors said, "You know, everyone is so excited on the first day when we come to camp, and we all cry when it's time to go. But I feel exactly the opposite-- on the first day, the buses unloaded tens of kids weak, scared, and depressed; it makes me so sad to see them like that. But now that we've spent some time is this wonderful environment, I am thrilled to be sending home happy kids with roses in their cheeks, a notebook full of friends' numbers, and memories that will warm their hearts for months. Now that camp is over, I know that we've given them our all and we can see how much we've accomplished."
    I couldn't agree more. Of course, I still cried when I saw my precious ones go, but still the time marked a victory.

    As one of my friends likes to say, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened!"
     
  23. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jan 21, 2007

    I didn't think I would have to deal with this so soon (at least not until the end of next June when my special, needy student was finished grade 8 and would be moving on to high school), but I found out on Friday that he may be moving. He doesn't want to go and I worry that all the progress he made this year will be gone. He finally comes to school with a smile on his face which is something he never did before, he doesn't complain about everything as much and the thick walls he had built around himself are now quite a bit thinnner. All the teachers in my building who have had experience with him say that he is so much better than he used be. If he can't see me, he will look for me and he pretty much stays by my side all day (by choice) so I take advantage of that to have him get things done so he doesn't fall behind. I'm so sad because I don't know if anyone else will figure out how to tap into his positive side (I've been told that I am the first) and then he will regress back into negativity. And he is at that pivotal age (13) where he needs someone to understand him and whom he can trust, but who will also teach him to take care of his responsibilities. I have a good rapport with his mother too. I can't help him moving, but I guess my question is, would it be okay to offer contact info, like an email address (talking to his mother about it first, of course) so that he could get in touch if he needs to during his transition? Maybe this way I could guide him through a positive transition if it doesn't go well for him at first, and he would know there would be someone there who he can talk to and sound off of. His mother is very busy and I don't really think he opens up to anyone and everyone needs to. He still has walls, but he is more open with me than with anyone, and he has no friends at school here either, so there is no 'buddy' for him to keep in touch with him. I never expected such an attachment with a student, but I know I have made a difference and that's really my biggest goal in teaching, to know that I possibly made the difference between him making it or not later on. I have that heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach as if I were sending off my own child, never to see again.
     
  24. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2007

    Anytime a child moves during the year I give them my contact info and tell them that I want to hear from them. I've had several call or email. For students who end the year with me, well, our website has our email and I'm in the phone book so they have no trouble staying in touch. I say, if mom is fine with it, definitely give your contact info. I've even had a couple of parents contact me, after moving, with questions about something we covered, or something their child is dealing with.
     
  25. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Thank you so much Christy! Being a new teacher, I was really struggling with this because I wasn't sure if it was 'professional' to want to maintain contact with a student who leaves. However, I know in my heart that it is the right thing to do and that him having the option of staying in touch may make the difference in his transition. I will also feel better too, knowing how he's doing and I may be able to continue being a positive influence in his life from afar.
     
  26. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2007

    :) No problem. I have been told from time to time that I get too attached to my kids, but I don't think that is possible. For many of them, school is the only place they feel secure.
     
  27. TXTeacher4

    TXTeacher4 Companion

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    Jan 22, 2007

    I had a student last year that I will always remember and will hold dear to my heart. He moved away over the summer. He emailed me and invited me to his birthday, so my son and I went. My husband feels very uncomfortable with me emailing students for fear of me being the next news story. It seems like a lot of teachers have been in the news lately. So, the last time this child emailed me, I didn't even reply. It makes me so sad. I noticed that several others mentioned email. Does that ever worry you?
     
  28. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2007

    I do email a few past students. I am always sure that the parents and my administrator know that the communication is happening. I use my school email account and keep copies of all communication (both sides). Remember to keep it professional--talk about what is happening in the class and school.
     
  29. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    Jan 22, 2007

    I would think that emailing is okay because it's so 'open'. On the computer, parents can check up and see anything and you can print copies of everything to keep as a record. Emails would also be hard to 'fake' because it's easy to trace where it's coming from. It's not like writing where someone could easily forge a letter or something. I spoke to one teacher at school about it and she says that her husband has communicated by email with students. I do agree with being upfront with parents about the communication. Thanks to all who replied. This is a high needs student (emotional and academic) whom I fear will not do well if this move happens.
     

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