Do My Former Teachers Really Care if I Say Hi?
Recently, I’ve crossed paths with two former teachers of mine. At least I think I’ve crossed paths with former teachers. I didn’t actually go up to them and confirm that they were my former teachers. I thought about it, I really did, but I also had some other thoughts that ultimately convinced me I should stay quiet. The first time it happened, the conversation when something like this in my head:
I think that’s my fifth grade teacher.
Hmm, she looks a lot older than I remember, maybe it’s not her.
It’s been 20 years since I was in fifth grade, does she look like my fifth grade teacher in 20 years?
Has it really been 20 years since I was in fifth grade? When did I get so old?
I should go say “Hi.” I always liked her. Except when she gave me my first “C” on my project on England.
I must have really slacked off to get a “C” on a project about England. What a good teacher for giving me a wake-up call. If it hadn’t been for her, I might have continued down that path of slackerhood and never made it into college.
Did I really just use slackerhood as a word? I bet I made up words in my England project too. That’s probably why she gave me a “C.”
After I introduce myself, I should tell her I did in fact graduate college in case she remembers my England project and had doubts.
She probably wouldn’t remember me. And even if she does, would she really appreciate an almost 30-year-old former student coming up to her?
She’s eating dinner with a friend. Would she be embarrassed in front of that friend to admit that a former student of hers is almost 30?
I think my brother had her, so she definitely has former students that are over 30, maybe even 40.
I probably shouldn’t mention that when I’m talking to her.
The next time I saw a teacher, I was in the locker room at my gym. That time, I had the same conversation in my head, but added some thoughts about the fact that she was in a towel and probably didn’t want to know that a former student of hers was now seeing her in nothing but a towel.
So if this happens again, I’d like some insight from current or former teachers (that’s you Grandma!): If a former student recognizes you, do you want them to say hi? Does it go without saying that they should assume you have no memory of them? Would you remember the really good students? What about if they turned in a mediocre project on the country of England?