An Investment in the Future

Former Elementary Students Returning to Our School Before High School Graduation

Some might think that teachers spend one year with students, and then the relationship ends for both student and teacher. I knew that is true for some, but for many teachers, we hold onto those bonds with our students for a lifetime.

I’m grateful to live in the same city I taught, and I frequently run into former students on my travels. I even taught some of my students’ children over the last few years of my career. One of the most mind-blowing aspects of teaching was to hold a parent-teacher conference with a parent who used to be one of my students.

It’s such a kick for me to find out what happened to my students. Are they married? Do they have children of their own now? I know it won’t be that many years before some of my students have grandchildren. What career path did they choose? Did any become teachers themselves? I take special pride in that. I even had the great fortune to teach with one of my former fifth-grade students in the last few years of my career. How cool is that?

Former Fifth Grade Student and Current Teacher, Kelly

When these planned or chance encounters happen, I treasure them. I still occasionally get a letter from one of my students telling me about something exciting happening in their life. I’ve attended birthday parties, graduations, weddings, housewarming parties, and more. I’ve hired past students to work for me. There are few better feelings in life than watching a former pupil succeed in life.

This raises the question of what defines success? I think it’s different for everyone, but happiness must enter the equation somewhere. Some may think of it as making lots of money and having many material possessions, but I believe the bar should be higher than that. Success to me means making a positive difference in the world somehow. The trick is for each of us to find our path in achieving that. It could mean being a good parent, volunteering with organizations that are doing important work, cleaning up your city, painting a mural, or the hundreds of other creative ways that we can help those in our community. One of the secrets I’ve discovered is that I’m happiest when helping others because it makes me feel good about myself.

Being a former educator, I value literacy. I joined the Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee after I retired. This organization helps bring nationally known children’s authors to our local schools biennially to talk to kids about their books and writing. Children see these authors and illustrators and think, “I could do that too.” Since I’m writing children’s novels in retirement, it was a natural fit for me. Right now, I’m the only male on the approximately twenty-five-person committee, but that doesn’t bother me in the least.

Humboldt County Children’s Author Festival Committee (I’m the lone male—in the middle of the back row.)

Two weeks ago, I had the good fortune of seeing two of my former students on the same day. First, I had breakfast with Veronica, who I taught in 4th grade. She is married with three daughters. I’m proud of her because she has an important job working with the developmentally disabled. I know she is a tremendous advocate for them because she is that type of person. Veronica’s oldest daughter is Juliana, now a college student. I felt privileged to teach Juliana for part of 2nd grade before her family moved out of the school district. I remember her as being intelligent and mature for her age.

Breakfast with Former 4th grade Student, Veronica
Veronica’s daughter, Juliana, from 2nd Grade

Later in the day, I dropped by and visited Mychal in town at his informational campaign gathering. He is running for Humboldt County Auditor/Controller in the upcoming election. I admire his desire to try and make a difference in our community by serving the public. It takes courage to run for public office, and I am happy to see that he is up to the challenge. I had the opportunity to teach Mychal for two years in fourth grade and then again two years later in sixth grade. He was a great all-around student. It meant a lot to me when he came by to my book signing at our old elementary school a few years back, and the least I could do was to return the favor.

Former 4th and 6th Grade Student, Mychal at My Book Signing
Recent Photo with Former Student, Mychal—Now a Candidate for Humboldt County Auditor/Controller

These encounters are what I call the delayed rewards of teaching. Watching children grow into responsible adults is the best. I’ve always looked at education as an investment in the future. How wonderful to see some of that investment come to fruition!

105 thoughts on “An Investment in the Future

  1. How awesome, Pete! I find it exciting to see what my students are up to down the line, too. It’s definitely a credit to you that they keep in touch and reach out to you. I’m hoping to reach the point where I get to teach children of my former students. Thank you for your service! Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 4:43 pm

      Living where I do has provided me that luxury. I am touched when prior students include me with invitations and share the news of their lives. It does show how much impact teachers can have on a student’s life, even when we teach them for only one year.

      Hope you’re feeling better and that you’re keeping your head above water.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A wonderful post, Pete your pride and dedication shines throughout this post as does your former pupils what a fulfilling life you are leading…I hope you are having fabulous week 🙂 x

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 4:45 pm

      I would say, if anything, I got too invested in their lives. I don’t regret caring about them, but it took retirement to realize what a workaholic I had become.

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  3. What a great thing to be able to interact with former students, Pete. You are very fortunate.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 4:47 pm

      I often tell people that teaching was the most demanding yet most rewarding job I ever had. Five years later, I still pay attention to past students and treasure our bonds.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Pete, you clearly made an impression in so many lives. I love that you still interact with your students who are now adults, and even their students. I always thought teaching would be a rewarding career. After reading your post, I understand how important these moments are to you. What a wonderful share!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 4:49 pm

      Thanks, Mae. It breaks my heart to see so many are choosing to leave teaching. I’m not criticizing them as I know the demands are great, and sometimes it can be a thankless job when you’re giving your all and then asked to do more.

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      1. I work with an agent who retired from teaching. It’s definitely a calling, both a tough and rewarding profession!

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  5. i absolutely love this and the impact you’ve had. it is so very lucky when we get to see this firsthand. brilliant.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 4:51 pm

      I know you get it, Beth. I care about my students as if they were my own children. Thank you for being one of those caring teachers.

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  6. Teachers are family, forever. I went back and visited my former teachers for years and gave them all Christmas presents for a long while.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 6:05 pm

      I can promise you that meant everything to your teachers. When children came back to visit years later, it was one of the most precious gifts any teacher could receive.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the pictures of you with former students. You can see in their smiles and eyes that they truly appreciate you. And what a picture of you with all the women! Yikes!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 6:34 pm

      Maybe when I was younger, that would have intimidated me, but uniting behind a common goal (promoting literacy) is the only thing that matters. To use a poker term, I’m all in!

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  8. Great post Pete! Having many of your former students become productive members of the community must be very fulfilling to you, and they are so lucky to have had you teach them. I’m somewhat envious of a teacher’s investment in youth. As an engineer my investments were in civil works projects. Often my work showed that investing in a project wasn’t feasible. Don’t get me wrong, saving taxpayer money for more beneficial projects is important, but it doesn’t have the same tangible luster of seeing a child blossom like you and your colleagues saw.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 7:09 pm

      I can appreciate your profession also, Bruce, although nothing I’ve done quite matches the satisfaction I’ve felt when seeing a child light up with pride in their accomplishments. I am impressed that you are tutoring students in retirement and helping society by giving your time.

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  9. Wonderful, Pete. Surely, you must think that you had an influence, however small, in the success of those former students. Good for you to keep those bonds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 7:14 pm

      I think every bit of education matters. Each teacher or role model can offer something different. The beauty of learning is that not every child develops in the same way, and thus children connect with different educational styles. That’s why I’ve always loved the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

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  10. This is so heartwarming, Pete! It is also a great testimony to a wonderful teacher who mush have had a great impact on his students lives and the paths they chose to take later on.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 7:23 pm

      I know I do a lot of these types of stories, but it’s why I taught. The idea that we can make a difference in children’s lives was a powerful motivation.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wonderful post. I think you personify success. It really isn’t about money. You are very lucky to have had the opportunity to touch so many lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 7:40 pm

      I think the definition of success in modern society needs a complete overhaul, though I believe success is different for every person. I taught kids who had every reason to fail based on their life circumstances, so I considered it an enormous success if they stayed in school and were able to graduate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Success is a personal thing. Or at least it is to me. Society, as you said, needs to rethink it.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Pete, with so much frustration and burnout with teaching these days, your post reminds everyone that being a teacher provides a unique and precious connection with students. Thank you for that boost. A new addition to our staff is a former student who made my day by saying how my senior poetry unit so inspired him he took poetry in college and still remains a T.S. Eliot fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 21, 2022 — 9:24 pm

      I think it is those moments that keep us going sometimes. We just want to feel like what we’re doing is valued and appreciated. Thanks for what you do, Pam!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. That is a cool retirement benefit. I had a friend who taught and coached at the same school for over 40 years. Seattle is a big city but we could not go anywhere with him without former students coming up and introducing themselves with kind words. What better legacies?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:22 am

      I have a buddy who is one of these people that seems to know everybody. Several times I’ve been with him hours from home in some far-off galaxy, and he’ll run into someone in a store and say, “Isn’t your name Beth? I used to play softball with your Uncle Greg.”

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  14. How very special that you have been able to follow the successes of your former students. You are one of those teachers that really made a difference in the lives of your students. Well done! I had some great teachers but the one I will never forget is my Grade three teacher. I wrote a blog post about her but I think it was before we followed each other. Here it is in case you are interested. https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/a-special-teacher/

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:39 am

      I LOVED your post about Miss Roll, Darlene. I’m sure as much fun as you had in writing this piece, it meant everything to her that she stayed in touch with you all these years and watched you become a writer. Thanks for starting my day off right with this feel-good story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I thought you would like that post. Sadly she has since passed away but I know she made a difference in many students’ lives. I have actually turned that post into a story I plan to include in a collection of stories about growing up in a rural community.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 11:51 am

        Fabulous idea! I look forward to reading that.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely, heartwarming post, Pete. You care and have done for years and that shines through in all the connections that thrive from your teaching days. I love your photos. Much love to you both. Xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:43 am

      It’s not lost on me that I used to run around with my students playing tag games with them. I was that teacher who came to the meetings after school dripping in sweat. 🤣 I hope many are doing the same with their children. Great memories! Have a great day, Jane!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wonderful memories, Pete, for all involved. ❤

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  16. This goes to show that teaching was never your profession, it was your calling!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:47 am

      I had one of those aha moments on my first day of student teaching in Mrs. Van Vleck’s class. I watched a master conductor directing her orchestra, and I wanted to be just like her.

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  17. It must be great for you to be able to see the fruits of your labours!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:49 am

      It’s one of the unique parts of this profession because there are moments along the way that remind us why we love it, but that feeling gets reinforced again and again years later.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I can imagine how rewarding this must be, to see those students all grown up with kids of their own. I volunteered in the local elementary school for many years helping kids who were struggling with their reading, and even though I have’t done so for five or six years, I still have these used-to-be kindergarteners and fourth graders come up to me, beaming, excited to tell me what’s been going on with them. Your experience must be so much more extensive and rewarding!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:53 am

      Isn’t that the best feeling, Dorothy? Thanks for volunteering; they are a necessity in schools. My favorite was running into students out of context at a gas station or a store, and they’d be so excited to see me. The rest of the customers look at you and wonder, “I don’t get it. This guy doesn’t look like anyone special.”😂

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      1. LOL! Not all heroes wear capes!
        It is also amazing to me how very little time it actually takes to make a big difference in a child’s life and development.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s easy to see why you liked teaching when the rewards are all around you every day. I marvel at how lessons learned, or poems memorized, in elementary school still float around in my old addled brain. Teachers make an impact– hopefully positive.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 8:56 am

      I’ve been back to my old elementary school several times—not so much since Covid. Schools go on, and we’re all replaceable, but hopefully, we’ve helped a few kids along the way. I’m excited to be getting together with a bunch of my former colleagues on Friday.

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  20. Hi Pete, I can imagine that this part of teaching is very rewarding. A bit like watching your children grow and develop.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 9:00 am

      It’s that same feeling of pride that you experience with your boys, Robbie. In most cases, I was only with them for one school year, but spending a year in a child’s life at that impressionable age is significant.

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  21. What a treat to live in the community where you taught, Pete. I can imagine how much you enjoy running into previous students and learning about what they’re up to and how their lives are going. And how cool that in some cases you taught two generations! I love your definition of success too – you helped them along that journey. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 9:02 am

      Quite naturally, many have moved on to new places to live. Yet nearly every week, I’ll run into one somewhere like the post office or out for a walk. They often remind me of things I’ve completely forgotten about.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 That’s wonderful.

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  22. It is wonderful that all those memories you have built up are still very much a part of real life now. I’m sure your students have become better people thanks to your support, and hopefully they are sharing that gift with the next generation.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 9:04 am

      That’s always the goal—to feel like we’ve done something worthwhile that adds something positive to the world. I’m sure it’s the same feeling you have when you look at your daughters and now your grandkids.

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  23. This post warms my heart, Pete! There is nothing more rewarding than keeping in touch with former students, planned or chance encounters, even teaching their children. What a great day to hook up with two students. Two! I love the photo of Veronica’s daughter Juliana in 2nd grade! The memories are deeply gratifying and stick with you, like frosting on a cake. Best to you, Pete.

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  24. What a heartwarming post, Pete. It’s so wonderful to see success on any face anytime, but to see it on former students must be almost overwhelming! Thanks for sharing!

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  25. What a perk to enjoy during your ‘retirement’! Yep, I’ll say it: You earned it, Pete!
    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 1:48 pm

      I earned it for sure, Laura. School was always on my mind whether it was the weekend or the middle of the summer. It seemed like I was at school all the time because there was always something to do. It took retirement to realize I was running myself ragged.

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  26. Wonderful Pete! Investing in kids should always be our top priority… You’ve shown us that he dividends (blessings) keep flowing! Great post and photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 3:12 pm

      Yep—I’ve got faith in this generation. I think they sometimes are judged unfairly as I see a lot of promising leaders for our future. Thanks for stopping by, Bette.

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      1. With you all the way, Pete!

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  27. Thank you for another heartwarming, uplifting post, Pete! You’re so fortunate to be able to keep in touch with former students. A caring teacher makes all the difference in shaping young hearts and minds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 3:38 pm

      I feel quite fortunate that way. We just got a wedding invitation to one of my special kids today. Her brother, who I didn’t get to teach but was in my son’s class, cuts my hair—what little I have left. 🤣

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      1. What an honor to have your former student want you at their wedding! A testament to the kind of teacher you were.

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  28. Once again, I’m late to the party, but my congratulations are no less sincere. You are a born teacher, an encourager, and a celebrator of student success. Kudos!

    Since my retirement, I too have reaped a harvest of former student connections. In my kitchen is an embroidered tea towel along with a white teapot from a former student, with whom I’ve had lunch several times. Another student, now herself a teacher, greets me on Facebook. Yet another student, Karen, has risen to stunning success. When I met Karen she was trying for the 3rd time to pass English composition. When I read her first essay I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why she failed the first time. Her essays became examples of good compositions I got her permission to publish for other students. Later, she became a “Profile of Success” in a grammar textbook. When I pointed out her writing gift, she at first stared at me blankly, almost in disbelief. She has since gone on to complete her M.B.A. degree at Purdue University and is currently employed as Systems Manager for Proctor and Gamble–and become co-author of a chapter in a book about technology for human resources.

    College students follow their paths to jobs out of the city, but we still stay in touch. Just last month, an Intro. to Lit student, Jeff, contacted me about writing a letter of recommendation for a creative writing scholarship. Of course I was willing to comply as I recalled his excellent parody of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales he wrote nearly 20 years ago. I agree, teaching is a career that keeps giving into retirement–and beyond.

    Thanks for this most excellent post and photos, Pete. Our investment comes back with huge dividends. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 3:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing those memories of your students, Marian. One doesn’t have to be a teacher to know how much we care about what happens to them. Most people would be surprised that you remember an essay from 20 years ago, but that doesn’t shock me. We see all this promise in our students, sometimes even before they do. It’s rather satisfying when these stories have satisfying endings, just as it is gutwrenching when I hear of those who made poor choices or didn’t fulfill their potential.

      I’ve often said I didn’t have much use for Facebook until I realized it was the avenue to stay in touch or rediscover past students.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Memorable essay: The pilgrims were going to Graceland in Memphis, TN–not Canterbury. Haha!

        Liked by 2 people

  29. Lucky you visiting with some former students. I’m in touch with many on Facebook, but only see one once in a while. Thanks for the post.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 6:44 pm

      No doubt many of my students have left the area to pursue their respective professions, but not that many people get to work their entire career in the same city and school for the duration. I am grateful for that stability.

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  30. wonderful post on one of the best perks of teaching. You have made a difference in the lives of so many people, and continue to do so…

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    1. petespringerauthor February 22, 2022 — 9:57 pm

      I know you have done the same as much as you like to use self-deprecating humor. Your sensitivity for your students shines through in your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. we all hope we’ve made a difference…

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  31. Now this is the true fruits of your labour right here. How proud you must be. Some circle of life stuff going on here, that’s for sure. And who knows how many people’s lives you’ve changed from being a great teacher? Thanks for sharing, Pete!

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  32. petespringerauthor February 23, 2022 — 8:03 am

    It’s the oddest feeling to run into one of them after a decade or more and find out that they’ve been living here the entire time. Then, there are others who I seem to run into regularly. It’s pretty random. Circle of life, indeed.

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  33. It must feel wonderful to know you were a part of these amazing students’ lives and that maybe something you nurtured in them made them who they are today. That’s a pretty great legacy, Pete ❤

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    1. petespringerauthor February 23, 2022 — 3:33 pm

      It makes me feel like there is a payoff for our work as teachers besides collecting a paycheck. I remember when I was first starting out and would get paid at the end of the month, my thought was, “How cool is this? I’m getting paid to do something I love.”

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      1. Best reward you could have 😊

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  34. If you had a good relationship with your students and you’re still connecting with some of them, you must have been a dynamo of a teacher. My adult children’s third grade teacher was frequently invited to weddings and graduations of their classmates. Why? She was a fabulous teacher.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 23, 2022 — 6:34 pm

      Different teachers have their individual strengths, but you’re never going to go wrong if you show your students they’re important to you. Everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated.

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  35. This was such a joyful post to read, Pete! I wish I had kept in touch with some of my teachers that made a big difference in my life. As you know, my favourite middle school teacher passed away several years ago (I wrote in a former post) but I was glad to have been able to tell her how much she meant to me in my life before she sadly passed away… On the flip side, being a student to an amazing, selfless teacher and being able to tell her how much she meant to me has been fulfilling as well. I love that you have great memories of your former students and still keep in touch and support them in their endeavors too! 🙂

    I remember as a young student, the thing I sometimes thought about was “my teachers only care because they have to, they’re paid to care” (which wasn’t a bad thing either, just something I was hyper aware of) and once in a while a teacher would come along and show me/prove to me that they cared far beyond their call of duty/their pay grade by asking me how I was doing outside of class, checking in after class to make sure I was okay/coping well. 🙂 Those are the teachers I remember well!

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    1. petespringerauthor February 24, 2022 — 6:37 pm

      Of course, I’m much older than you, but I still remember my favorite teachers. It’s a bit curious that I decided to become a teacher because I never liked school that much (particularly high school.) I found my mojo in college, and teaching allowed me to release my inner ham. I loved being silly with my students as long as they understood there was a time for that. I could play it straight if I needed to. I used to write skits for my class to perform, and I’d often write myself into the skit. They usually had some silliness and were fun, but there was almost always an underlying lesson.

      While there were times I worked too hard and got on far too many committees, one thing I don’t regret is I tried to attend at least one extracurricular event of my students during the year (assuming I was invited.🤣) The paybacks from that simple act were enormous. It brought me such joy to see them dancing, singing, playing sports, etc. I’m convinced the kids tried harder for me because they knew I cared about them. Most teachers do. I find it terribly sad that there is an enormous teacher shortage in our country, but I think a lot of people have just gotten worn down by the lack of support. Covid is a factor, but this started long before then.

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  36. As a retired high school teacher (37 years), I agree with you 100%. It’s all about the relationships and the connections. I’ve become friends with a number of my students and had their children or nieces/nephews in class. I have such excellent memories of most of my career and the many people who were part of it.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 24, 2022 — 8:11 pm

      Thanks so much for reaching out, Margaret, and your commitment to education. I’m always happy to meet other educators. What subject(s) did you teach? By the way, I had an Aunt Margaret who also was a teacher. 😊

      People always like to talk about the physical traits children inherit from their parents. I also observed many personality traits and habits in second-generation students that I recognized in their parents. More than once, I wanted to say something like, “You may think that your work is messy, but your dad’s was far worse.” 😂

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      1. I was a high school French teacher, although as the “utility player” in the department, I also taught sections of English, first year Spanish and first year German some years. Doesn’t everyone have an Aunt Margaret? 😉 I had a Great Aunt Margaret and a great-grandmother Margaret, hence my name. I hated it when I was younger, but now I love it. We aren’t allowed to make those types of comparisons, but it was SO tempting.

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  37. Your posts are an inspiration, Pete. Every time you focus on the people who made a difference for you or whom you met, I gobble it up, smile, and appreciate all that you achieved and all that you focus on. “Success to me means making a positive difference in the world.” Well said!

    I only taught for a few years before I somehow left my country and never returned, but I can totally understand the feeling of seeing former students succeed. And, staying in touch with them. Those connections are a gift! Knowing that you inspired someone – as a teacher or a writer – makes every effort worthwhile!

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  38. Pete it seems to me that you have made so many extraordinary contributions to the lives of the pupils you taught. I don’t think every teacher would be invited to so many events or that students would want to seek out their former teachers should they not have been exceptional.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 25, 2022 — 1:36 pm

      I don’t want to make it sound like this happens all the time. As the years pass, it’s only natural to occur less frequently. I feel honored when they care enough to include me or just to come over and say hello when I run into them on occasion. It is interesting how I recognize some immediately when I see their faces while others have to reintroduce themselves because they’ve changed so much.

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  39. Well done Pete, it really sounds like you have had a fantastically positive impact on people and the dividends are being felt across generations.

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    1. petespringerauthor February 26, 2022 — 7:55 am

      It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, Paul. I take energy from and feel motivated by their accomplishments to continue to chase my own dreams.

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  40. Pete this is amazing as usual! I’m so impressed with your love for your students. Your ability to keep in touch, continue to watch them bloom, and share in their joy is pure magic. We’d all be so lucky to have had a teacher like you ❤️

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    1. petespringerauthor February 27, 2022 — 8:30 am

      I suspect some people might think, but you were only with them for a year…

      It took a lot less time than that to start caring about them and wanting them to be successful in life. I know from my experiences that people have entered my life that changed my perspective in a short time. For example, on the first day of student teaching, I watched my master teacher, Cynthia, and I said, “I want to be like her.” She commanded the room, not by being overbearing but with her engaging presence. I could ask her about any previous student, and she could recall past details or what that person was up to now. She has since passed but continues to influence me in how I live.

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      1. That’s incredible!!

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  41. Absolutely Pete. And you’ve left behind a wonderful legacy. 🙂

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    1. petespringerauthor February 28, 2022 — 9:54 pm

      I’m a proud papa. Lots of happy endings for many of my students. I feel a lot of hopefulness for the next generation.

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  42. Such an inspiring post, Pete. What a wonderful legacy. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 1, 2022 — 8:16 am

      Hopefully, we are doing the same thing and making a positive impact on those around us. Thanks for always taking the time to read and comment, Toni!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Great story, Pete! I have a similar, yet very different one of my own. It’s what happens when I return to the old organizational haunts of my faith sites in the DC and Virginia area. That’s where I encounter people that I encouraged in their Buddhist practice decades ago who thank me. That’s as they have made great progress in life and faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 1, 2022 — 1:25 pm

      That’s great, John! I think we all should look for a path to find a way to contribute to the betterment of society. Seeing others you mentored go on to be successful in life and faith must be gratifying for you.

      Forgive me if I’ve already mentioned this (there’s that memory thing again), but I lived in that part of the country when I was a toddler. I was born in Washington DC, and we lived the first four years of my life in Laurel, Maryland.

      Like

  44. It’s so cool that you run into your former students so often and even had breakfast with them, taught with some side by side. It’s a constant affirmation of your investment in these young people’s lives. I don’t have such a privilege. For one, I live 22 miles away from the school I worked. Two, I left the classroom for 12 years before retirement and didn’t keep up with the students during the teaching years. I’m happy for you and the community you live in, Pete. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 2, 2022 — 6:00 pm

      I know my situation is a bit out of the norm, still living so close, but many people have found me through Facebook that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about who no longer live in the area. It’s a little wild to think many of my students are now in their 40s.

      Like

      1. I’m a Facebook fan of some students. But again, since I don’t live in the same area, it’s hard to keep in touch. One student graduated from college and seeked me out because she brought back a college sweatshirt for me.

        I know, the students remind us of our age.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. petespringerauthor March 2, 2022 — 7:40 pm

        Other than all of those mysterious pains we seem to get at our age from doing nothing, I feel pretty good, Miriam. I wish my eyes and ears worked better, but I can’t complain. it’s funny how what I used to think was ancient doesn’t seem that old anymore.

        Like

  45. This post makes my heart hum. Yes, success has nothing to do with money or material goods (and actually I think money and material goods make success more difficult). CONNECT, TEACH, be KIND, GIVE, and LOVE – those ae the aspects of a great life of success. You obviously have done (and are doing) all of these Pete. And I admire you not just for that, but for writing about these virtues and spreading the news about real success.

    Like

  46. petespringerauthor March 3, 2022 — 5:32 pm

    I like your words of success, Pam. If we’re only thinking about ourselves, then something is missing. Despite all the chaos in the world, this generation makes me hopeful.

    Like

  47. Love your post and agree so much with your thoughts on success, Pete. It is so pleasing to see your students (as well as your own children) grow into contributing adults.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor March 13, 2022 — 8:35 am

      I try to keep track of as many as possible without being overly nosy. I organize a monthly retirement lunch (we’ve been out of commission because of Covid, but I’m going to try and get us together next month), and quite often, someone will bring up news about a former student.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That retirement lunch is such a good idea, Pete. It’s important to stay in touch with friends – young and old, new and old. Always good to catch up on a bit of ‘goss’ too.

        Liked by 1 person

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