November 8 – students as friends

107/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. Initially, I shied away from befriending students in real life once they had graduated. Of course, on Facebook, that has been another story – once they are finished grade 12 (not before), it’s up to them if they want to add me as a friend which surprisingly, many have. I have teacher friends who refuse to mix the two worlds which I totally respect but I’ve never had any problem myself as I’m pretty much an open book. As in the online world, I have also had students in the real world, after a couple of years after graduation, message me to go out for drinks or a coffee or a meal. The first few times was a bit awkward and uncomfortable as I wasn’t too sure how to act – teacherly, fatherly or friendly. Because I was their teacher, in my mind my students were perpetually 17 or 18 years of age. To find out that they were in their mid 20s and some with kids really threw me for a loop as of course that meant that I, too, had aged! However, after my initial uneasiness, I was able to get to know the students as fellow adults and have one-on-one conversations about life that wouldn’t have been possible during the daily ritual of relaying lessons to them. One of these students was and still is Dan. Now, in his 30s and also working within the school system, I have gotten to know him on a different level and had some great conversations about life. Fortunately, I also knew Dan’s mom from within the education system and have been invited over to Ukrainian celebrations a few times which has even given me more of a view into Dan’s world and his bond with his family and friends. Of course, I would be remiss in not mentioning that we both share a fondness for craft beer – the link between many a friend 😉 I am glad that I got to know you as an adult and appreciate your support and kindness during my own trials and tribulations of last year. Cheers to you Dan as I hunt for beer advent calendars in your honour! 😉

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