How Will They Remember You?

I was just out walking the dog, when I heard a person behind me: “Oh my gosh! Miss Dunsiger. Is that you?” I turned around. I saw a businessman doing some sales in the area. He looked in his early twenties. I didn’t recognize the face, but I knew that I would recognize the name if he gave it to me … and he did.

Always waiting for a belly rub. 🙂

Wow! This was a student that I taught almost 10 years ago now. He challenged me in many ways, but also made me grow — possibly the most as an educator — thanks to those challenges. I ran into his parents pre-COVID, and they updated me a bit on how he was doing. Now I got the longer version, as my dog ran around his feet and begged for a belly rub. 🙂 This former student was honestly just so thrilled to see me again and to update me on his life and family. He said he was actually talking about me to his parents not that long ago, so he was excited to tell them that he ran into me.

This had me stop and pause. It’s actually what caused me to come home, open up my computer, and blog. As I mentioned before, he was not always the easiest student to teach, but I was determined to connect with him … as I did with my other students. Yes, I made mistakes. But as he excitedly asked me for a hug out on the road today, I kept thinking about these questions:

  • How will kids remember you?
  • Be in five years, ten years, or many more years down the line, will they stop you to say, “hello?”
  • Will they share their lives and stories with you?
  • And will they believe that you care?

Twenty-two years into the game, I really hope that more stop me as this former student did. As educators, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on so many lives. And sometimes, if we’re lucky, down the road, we’ll hear that we did just that. March Break can’t get much more wonderful than this!


6 thoughts on “How Will They Remember You?

  1. I can guarantee you, he is one of many students who will never forget the impact you made in their and their families’ lives. We are definitely in that category, and so thankful you were a part of our lives. Julia and Ethan are incredibly fortunate to have started their educational journeys with you. This experience of yours tonight doesn’t surprise me in the least!

    • Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing this, Lisa! I feel so very fortunate to have connected with so many wonderful students and families over the years. Hearing many years later that you’ve made a difference is such a special experience as a teacher. I’m glad that this former student stopped me tonight. Thank you for making this moment even better with your comment!


  2. I am lucky enough, Aviva, to live in a neighbourhood where I taught for 9 years. That means I get to have experiences like holding my first “grand-student-baby”, who lives across the street (I taught her mom and her uncle). My husband grins when we’re somewhere in town and someone says “Madame?” and comes to check in. A few weeks ago, I was popping my head into a basketball tournament being held at my school, and spotted a former student, there to watch her kiddo play. She was thrilled that I recognized her, so it works both ways. My absolute favourite is having former students end up as teaching colleagues. It’s amazing. I am so very glad you had this experience tonight, and chose to write about it.

    • Oh Lisa! Thank you for your comment and sharing all of your wonderful past student experiences. You’re giving me more wonderful things to look forward to!


  3. Thanks, Aviva, for your recent blog posting titled How Will They Remember You?
    It is an important reminder of the importance of relationships because good teacher-student relationships breed success.
    Relationships matter!
    And as you have shared with us, these relationships last a very long time!
    I had a similar experience with a student who moved on to junior high school but recognized my old car in the school parking lot and came into the school to search for me.
    I will never forget the day…”Mrs. Trehearne I want to tell you that you changed my life (for the better)!” Nothing gets better than a student telling you this, face-to-face!
    I am reminded of the Ontario Ministry’s document How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years:
    A resource about learning through relationships for those who work with young children and their families.
    I was just rereading an educational journal from ASCD titled Relationships First.
    It reminded me of a true story of an Australian teacher who clearly exemplifies her understanding of how to build relationships even in very challenging times.

    I am sure you your post elicited many wonderful teacher memories. Miriam

    • Thank you so much for your comment and for sharing your stories! Hearing that you changed a student’s life from that student has to be one of the best things an educator can hear. Stuart Shanker talks a lot about the importance of relationships and connections, and I know that his Self-Reg work is driven in that. One of my favourite Ministry Documents is the How Does Learning Happen one. I know that it really influenced our Kindergarten Program Document. So glad that you referenced it in your comment. I haven’t read the other story though. I’m going to check it out now. It’s so wonderful to read about these special moments from other educators!


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